Or maybe they’re called scammerrs now.
I recently bought a service on the popular website Fiverr.com (the premise of the site is that everything can be had for $5); the service was one of many that offered to have people “like” my Facebook page. The seller also offered to tweet my Facebook page on their Twitter for their thousands of followers to find. I had used Fiverr before as both a seller and a buyer with good results, and I was struggling to build up followers on Facebook, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.
I had previously asked questions of other sellers offering the same or similar services, many times asking to see what Facebook page or Twitter account they would be working from, and most of them refused. I suspected it was either spammers or that somehow seeing their pages would tip me off as to how to do things myself, but in either case, I stopped asking.
Now, I’m not a TOTAL idiot, I fully expected there to be some fake profiles in the mix. But when the service was “delivered”, I was shocked to discover that they were ALL fake. And it didn’t even take me that long to realize it because of how obviously fake they were. Male names with female pics and vice-versa, profiles with two last names, MULTIPLE accounts with the same profile pics, some even with PRISON MUGSHOTS.
And then I checked their alleged Twitter account with the thousands of followers, and they do indeed have them, but it looks like almost all of them are other spammers and bots, so no value there at all. Plus the account’s timeline is NOTHING BUT Facebook page links, without context. See for yourself: the account name is @mahanths
At this point, I provided feedback on the order and laid out what I had discovered. Afterwards, I began getting Fiverr messages from the seller, facebook_liksee, begging me to take my feedback off.
we never said these are real people .please remove the negative comment.We will refund you if u are not happy.Please help us.We are sorry for the inconvenience>please please we are requesting
And another message minutes later:
Please mate,we beg you please remove the comments.We wold have told you if u told you they are not real if you have asked ,we did as advertised.What is wrong with us.Please help us ,it will spoil out business.Please do us this help
The last one especially made me realized what I was dealing with as it was the first sign of a scammer: in their listing, they had identified themselves as being from the U.S. (one of the reasons why I chose them). But the horrible English and use of the word “mate” immediately told me they weren’t from the U.S. And it was one thing to rip me off, but another thing entirely to basically admit to ripping people off being their “business”. It was at this point that I contacted Fiverr’s customer support, I gave them the lowdown on what I had seen, and I was a bit miffed at their response, to say the least…
I’m sorry to hear that. Sellers sometimes do offer a refund in exchange for feedback removal, as feedback is very important to sellers on Fiverr. Could you please continue communicating with your seller regarding your order, and keep us informed?
Please let me know if there is anything I can assist you with.
We’re here if you need anything,
I figured it was a canned response and that they hadn’t even read my message (or misunderstood it as they often do), but even so, the line about them knowing sellers offer refunds in return for feedback removal told me that their feedback system is pretty much
fixed rigged. So I fired back another message explaining that it wasn’t about me trying to get my money back, I was trying to alert Fiverr that this person was purposefully ripping off their members. In hopes of getting their attention, I threw in a line or two about how if they don’t step up they’re supporting scammers, and that what is happening might even be illegal, to which they kindly responded:
We try to create a hands-off marketplace as much as possible (within our terms of service), and unfortunately, occurrences such as the one you encountered can happen. The seller seems willing to resolve this issue with you. Could you please communicate with the seller regarding your order, and keep us informed?
So in other words, “Yes, we know we have scammers, we don’t do anything about it. Get your refund and piss off.”
And I’m sure Fiverr has encountered this before, as they have no members forum and they don’t allow friend posting on the Facebook page. Basically they’ve made it nearly impossible to give THEM any feedback on their operations. So I’m taking to this blog, to my Facebook pages and my Twitter accounts, and I hope you see the error in their ways and will help me spread the word.
Today, facebook_liksee has been messaging me all morning begging me to delete my feedback. They’ve even removed all their fake likes from my page. After unsuccessfully trying to get Fiverr involved, I caved in and said “okay, take the likes off and give me my money back and I’ll remove the feedback” with no intent to do so, but they responded with “others have made that promise before and do not remove the feedback, we’ll take the likes off, you take the feedback off and then we’ll refund,” so clearly they’ve been in this situation before.
True to what I last said to “Julie”, I have attempted to delete my Fiverr account, but of course, Fiverr has no such option. I will now put in a request to Customer Support to see if they will close my account for me. Let’s see what happens.
UPDATE: Snapshot of my “conversation” with facebook_liksee. (click to see full size)
SECOND UPDATE: Fiverr, not facebook_liksee, has issued me a refund. THEY’VE ALSO DELETED MY FEEDBACK. Proof positive that they’re in the scammer business.
THIRD UPDATE: It looks like Fiverr has shut down facebook_liksee’s account. Their profile page is gone and so is their service listing. However, the refund that was previously issued was to my Fiverr account, not to my Paypal, so waiting to see what happens with that.