Mechanical Turk Suspensions and General Speculation

scrmcasey

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Suspension due to international relocation:
Hi all, I wonder if my situation is so uncommon, or if I just didn't see any other mention of it.

To summarize, I've last used MTurk back in 2007 (no typo, 12 years ago), and decided to get back into the fray. Upon login, I learn that my account was suspended - nothing else. Ireviewed my last few email from MTurk from 12 years ago, nothing negative. But I do have a suspicion: I used to live in the US, moved to Europe for a few years, and then returned to the USA. My Amazon shopping account moved with me, so to say, with foreign shipping address, payment address, etc. I immediately think the suspension is related to that.
Thanks to this forum, I write to the official worker help address. A couple days later, I get the following response:

We were unable to validate important details about your Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) account. As a result, your account has been suspended pending additional verification. At this time, we need you to verify your identity so we can reinstate your account.

In order to verify your identity, please send us a copy of your driver’s license or an equivalent government issued Identification Document (ID). You can provide your ID by sending a scanned copy to our secure fax line at 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx. In addition, please be sure to type or clearly print the following information at the top of the document to help us identify you:

-- Your first and last name
-- The email you use to log into your MTurk Worker account

Once we receive and validate this information, we will proceed with reinstating your account. Please note that if we are unable to verify your identity, you will not able to disburse your current earnings balance or otherwise participate in the MTurk marketplace.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and we appreciate your patience with our security measures. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please email us using the Contact Us form on our Worker website:


Seems like my hunch was right; either they started verifying ID some time in the last 12 years, or they have noticed something unusual (legitimately switching my country of residence.) I find this noteworthy for two reasons:

- First, there is "nothing bad" I did; everything was completely justified and permissible. (Moving abroad is permissible a long as you update your information, not using MTurk for 12 years is permissible, why not.) Also, their need is justified, they didn't have my ID, and they wanted it. STILL, they did not say this out right, just "Account is suspended".
- Second, I never logged in or even tried to work HITs while living abroad (was busy enough). Still, the account was suspended, which means either a) Amazon acted on the information from my Prime Account, or b) Amazon just suspended my account without any notice when it started identifying people.

Lastly, I find it peculiar that the only way to reinstate the account is to FAX a document. I mean come on, who still has access to a fax? I will have to go to a copy shop and fax from there.

Bottom line: Even if you and Amazon both acted perfectly legitimate (here, not having an ID on file), the suspension is still done without any explanation of the reason. I understand the rationale for doing so if it is about policy violations, but in this case, they simply didn't have my ID on file. They could've just told me that.

See you later - I go search a fax machine now.

~
I'm sorry this happened to you :( It is pretty common for them to ask for a fax to validate ID from what I've seen.

https://faxzero.com/ is a good option to fax from home if you are able to scan a copy of your documents.
 
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Jituonline

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Hello Turk_Wannabe,

I am also going through this situation for past 3 months. My account (10+ years old) was suspended and I got the exact same email.
I have sent my ID proofs repeatedly to the secured Fax number, but there is no solution provided yet.

My account has always been active and I have completed more than 12 thousand HITs for MTurk till my account got suspended on 31st July.

Amazon has also blocked all my hard earned money from completing HITs after the account suspension. This is unexpected behavior from Amazon, and there is nothing that you can do about it. Keep sending them reminder emails and wait for action to happen from Amazon side.

All the best to us and to all the others who are facing the same issue with MTurk account.
 

Metallica

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Suspension due to international relocation:
Hi all, I wonder if my situation is so uncommon, or if I just didn't see any other mention of it.

To summarize, I've last used MTurk back in 2007 (no typo, 12 years ago), and decided to get back into the fray. Upon login, I learn that my account was suspended - nothing else. Ireviewed my last few email from MTurk from 12 years ago, nothing negative. But I do have a suspicion: I used to live in the US, moved to Europe for a few years, and then returned to the USA. My Amazon shopping account moved with me, so to say, with foreign shipping address, payment address, etc. I immediately think the suspension is related to that.
Thanks to this forum, I write to the official worker help address. A couple days later, I get the following response:

We were unable to validate important details about your Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) account. As a result, your account has been suspended pending additional verification. At this time, we need you to verify your identity so we can reinstate your account.

In order to verify your identity, please send us a copy of your driver’s license or an equivalent government issued Identification Document (ID). You can provide your ID by sending a scanned copy to our secure fax line at 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx. In addition, please be sure to type or clearly print the following information at the top of the document to help us identify you:

-- Your first and last name
-- The email you use to log into your MTurk Worker account

Once we receive and validate this information, we will proceed with reinstating your account. Please note that if we are unable to verify your identity, you will not able to disburse your current earnings balance or otherwise participate in the MTurk marketplace.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and we appreciate your patience with our security measures. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please email us using the Contact Us form on our Worker website:


Seems like my hunch was right; either they started verifying ID some time in the last 12 years, or they have noticed something unusual (legitimately switching my country of residence.) I find this noteworthy for two reasons:

- First, there is "nothing bad" I did; everything was completely justified and permissible. (Moving abroad is permissible a long as you update your information, not using MTurk for 12 years is permissible, why not.) Also, their need is justified, they didn't have my ID, and they wanted it. STILL, they did not say this out right, just "Account is suspended".
- Second, I never logged in or even tried to work HITs while living abroad (was busy enough). Still, the account was suspended, which means either a) Amazon acted on the information from my Prime Account, or b) Amazon just suspended my account without any notice when it started identifying people.

Lastly, I find it peculiar that the only way to reinstate the account is to FAX a document. I mean come on, who still has access to a fax? I will have to go to a copy shop and fax from there.

Bottom line: Even if you and Amazon both acted perfectly legitimate (here, not having an ID on file), the suspension is still done without any explanation of the reason. I understand the rationale for doing so if it is about policy violations, but in this case, they simply didn't have my ID on file. They could've just told me that.

See you later - I go search a fax machine now.

~
Welcome to hell!

There's so many inconsistencies in the way Amazon does things that it's close to impossible to give you a 100% correct answer.

Could it be an algorithm that flags accounts at random intervals for whatever metric they're tracking? Sure. Could it be because they noticed the account had activity in different places? Sure. Did they forget mturk existed and pressed random buttons so it looked like they were doing something? Equally likely.

Generally, you lose access to everything Amazon now when you get suspended. They moved from suspending your mturk account and only that years ago, and now just decide to tell you "password incorrect" for anything you try to use your credentials for. It could be that you got your "base" Amazon account suspended, and the Turk account is just following along with it. However, your comment gives me pause. Did they actually inform you that you were suspended when trying to log in? Or did you have to reach out to them to figure it out? Because that would be a remarkable improvement.

Aside from that, Amazon doesn't bother updating your qualifications on mturk when you move. If you signed up in California, you would have the location is CA qual. Moved to new york? You still have the CA qual, as they don't care to change it even if you request as much. That could always be a gray area, as they could just decide that you aren't the owner since you're in a different area and give you the boot.... not like they give you viable options to actually prevent that.

As for the faxing requirement.. I'm convinced their primary server has a core 2 duo with a CRT monitor as their display. Perhaps some authentic cobwebs for the holiday spirit.
 

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2/7/2019 edit: I'm still actively helping people with their suspensions. Any time I hear something new, I update this post with any information I can. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you feel that I can provide you with any assistance.

Are you trying to log into your MTurk account but it keeps telling you the password is wrong? Even if you know it for sure, or you've reset it multiple times? Sounds like you're suspended! There appears to be multiple reasons for suspension, which will be covered in this post. My searching around the forums and Reddit for recent suspensions has shown that this can be a very long uphill battle. With that said, it appears to be a toss up whether or not you will get your account back even if you email every single person you can think of. Note that if your requester account is suspended, so is your worker account, and vice versa. This is because they use the same Amazon account.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NEXT

Now that you have come to the realization that you are likely suspended, let us proceed to the process you need to conform to. You should immediately use the 'Contact Us' form, located at the bottom of the MTurk home page. They will generally answer back within 1-2 business days and give you a 'canned response' as to why you were suspended.

WHO ELSE CAN I EMAIL?*

There are a variety of choices here. From experience, most of them will not lead to a response at all, however, they are read, which could make someone investigate your case further. jeff@amazon.com is the best email to use. It seems to bring better results than using the CU page on MTurk (mturk-worker-support@amazon.com). Other emails you can use can be found on the CU page on Amazon Payments, and on the main Amazon page. Permission to list the above email was granted from the moderators. *I have another email, but it is a personal email account belonging to an Amazon employee. Both I and the moderators require that you message me if you would like to have access to it. It will not be posted here out of respect for the employee.


THE MAIN REASONS FOR SUSPENSION

**Update** According to correspondence electrolyte @electrolyte had with someone from Amazon, it seems like you'll be getting an actual response as to what you did from here on out. 8/6/2018: This was not present in the most recent case I encountered. Suspension reasons 4 and 5 below show what an "actual response" looks like. This is much better than before. Compare the first 3 reasons, which are now "old", to the 2 new ones.

According to research and contributions from others, there are now many (used to be just 3) different suspension reasons. The actual cause for your suspension now seems to be told to you upon your first email to them.
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!
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FURTHER RESPONSES AFTER YOUR INITIAL EMAIL

Again, there appears to be a list of things they can tell you after the initial suspension reason email. I have yet to compile a complete list of these, and only have one thus far. I hope to rectify this by receiving more contribution from others in the future. I received the exact same message shown in the "Response 1" spoiler, but I still continued to email them for 2 more days. Not much longer after, I received an email stating that my account was re-opened. Just because you received this message DOES NOT mean you are done for. It is just a canned response.

Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!

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Response 3 comes from a person I helped get unsuspended last week. Definitely the newest and most interesting contribution thus far.

FAQ

I received an email stating I am blocked by a requester. What does this mean?
  • This can be for bad quality work you have done for them, a error from their part, or an error in whatever software they use. A block is detrimental to your account and can lead to suspension if enough are gathered in a short period of time. Note that these blocks can be reversed, however you won't receive an email telling you if they were.
What's the difference between a "hard" and "soft" block, and how many can get me suspended?
  • There isn't a difference. A block is a block, so either distinction can lead to your suspension. The number needed for suspension isn't exactly 100% known, but the consensus is 4 within 6 months. Note that some blocks will not generate an email telling you that you were indeed blocked. This is where the "soft block" term started getting use. Years ago, a turker made a requester block them to see if an email was generated. It never was, so you can't really tell with certainty how many requesters have blocked you in the past.
Can rejections get me suspended?
  • Most definitely. The general rule of thumb is to stay at 99% approval rate or higher, which isn't all that hard if you do work correctly and pay attention to Turkopticon ratings. The exact percentage you need to get suspended isn't really known, but it is something terrible, so think around 75 or 80%.
How long will I have to email Amazon before I am unbanned?
  • This is an answer no one can tell you, as it is up to Amazon. Remember that you are not promised to get your account back to begin with.
What else can I do to prevent being suspended?
  • Be honest with requesters, don't scam them. Don't make multiple accounts or let other people use yours. Most of this stuff is pretty common sense, but you would be surprised how often people are suspended for that. More can be learned from MTurk's Participation Agreement, however some of it isn't clear or is misleading.
My account is under review. What does this mean?
  • Since this doesn't directly relate to suspensions, I am of no help. For more information regarding this, search the MTurk subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/mturk/
I got suspended because Amazon claims the information I provided to Payments did not match up. What can I do?
  • This thread is not meant to cover this issue. None of the information I have in this post is directed toward it. The MTurk reddit linked above has regular conversations about it, so try there. I will still send you the additional email for this, but I can't promise it will get anything done for you.
You mentioned in your post that you have another email I can use. How do I get it?
  • You have to PM me to get it. As mentioned in the post, I had to get approval from the moderation team to give it out. It will not be posted publicly because it is a personal account. I shouldn't need to add this to the FAQ since I plainly mentioned it in the main post, but I keep getting asked about this.
Hi,
I have received a warning mail, this is the only source of my income for buying from Amazon.com, without this account my buying would be stopped completely, please Pease help me, I don't know how to contact you, please give me an email address so that I can send you an email.
 

daddy

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Can someone help me with how i will recover my mturk account,i received an email that my account was suspended and NO any reason given for suspension .i really need this account,i have no any other source of income.
 

jan

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Can someone help me with how i will recover my mturk account,i received an email that my account was suspended and NO any reason given for suspension .i really need this account,i have no any other source of income.
have you read through this thread?
What has helped is consistent (and of course polite) outreach asking for them to tell you why - and give them details about your good work history.
It takes persistence, but keep asking. We've seen them investigate these situations and often reverse the decision.

Good luck!
 
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turking_seriously

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2/7/2019 edit: I'm still actively helping people with their suspensions. Any time I hear something new, I update this post with any information I can. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you feel that I can provide you with any assistance.

Are you trying to log into your MTurk account but it keeps telling you the password is wrong? Even if you know it for sure, or you've reset it multiple times? Sounds like you're suspended! There appears to be multiple reasons for suspension, which will be covered in this post. My searching around the forums and Reddit for recent suspensions has shown that this can be a very long uphill battle. With that said, it appears to be a toss up whether or not you will get your account back even if you email every single person you can think of. Note that if your requester account is suspended, so is your worker account, and vice versa. This is because they use the same Amazon account.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NEXT

Now that you have come to the realization that you are likely suspended, let us proceed to the process you need to conform to. You should immediately use the 'Contact Us' form, located at the bottom of the MTurk home page. They will generally answer back within 1-2 business days and give you a 'canned response' as to why you were suspended.

WHO ELSE CAN I EMAIL?*

There are a variety of choices here. From experience, most of them will not lead to a response at all, however, they are read, which could make someone investigate your case further. jeff@amazon.com is the best email to use. It seems to bring better results than using the CU page on MTurk (mturk-worker-support@amazon.com). Other emails you can use can be found on the CU page on Amazon Payments, and on the main Amazon page. Permission to list the above email was granted from the moderators. *I have another email, but it is a personal email account belonging to an Amazon employee. Both I and the moderators require that you message me if you would like to have access to it. It will not be posted here out of respect for the employee.


THE MAIN REASONS FOR SUSPENSION

**Update** According to correspondence electrolyte @electrolyte had with someone from Amazon, it seems like you'll be getting an actual response as to what you did from here on out. 8/6/2018: This was not present in the most recent case I encountered. Suspension reasons 4 and 5 below show what an "actual response" looks like. This is much better than before. Compare the first 3 reasons, which are now "old", to the 2 new ones.

According to research and contributions from others, there are now many (used to be just 3) different suspension reasons. The actual cause for your suspension now seems to be told to you upon your first email to them.
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!
Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!

FURTHER RESPONSES AFTER YOUR INITIAL EMAIL

Again, there appears to be a list of things they can tell you after the initial suspension reason email. I have yet to compile a complete list of these, and only have one thus far. I hope to rectify this by receiving more contribution from others in the future. I received the exact same message shown in the "Response 1" spoiler, but I still continued to email them for 2 more days. Not much longer after, I received an email stating that my account was re-opened. Just because you received this message DOES NOT mean you are done for. It is just a canned response.

Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!

Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!

Log in or register now. to view Spoiler content!

Response 3 comes from a person I helped get unsuspended last week. Definitely the newest and most interesting contribution thus far.

FAQ

I received an email stating I am blocked by a requester. What does this mean?
  • This can be for bad quality work you have done for them, a error from their part, or an error in whatever software they use. A block is detrimental to your account and can lead to suspension if enough are gathered in a short period of time. Note that these blocks can be reversed, however you won't receive an email telling you if they were.
What's the difference between a "hard" and "soft" block, and how many can get me suspended?
  • There isn't a difference. A block is a block, so either distinction can lead to your suspension. The number needed for suspension isn't exactly 100% known, but the consensus is 4 within 6 months. Note that some blocks will not generate an email telling you that you were indeed blocked. This is where the "soft block" term started getting use. Years ago, a turker made a requester block them to see if an email was generated. It never was, so you can't really tell with certainty how many requesters have blocked you in the past.
Can rejections get me suspended?
  • Most definitely. The general rule of thumb is to stay at 99% approval rate or higher, which isn't all that hard if you do work correctly and pay attention to Turkopticon ratings. The exact percentage you need to get suspended isn't really known, but it is something terrible, so think around 75 or 80%.
How long will I have to email Amazon before I am unbanned?
  • This is an answer no one can tell you, as it is up to Amazon. Remember that you are not promised to get your account back to begin with.
What else can I do to prevent being suspended?
  • Be honest with requesters, don't scam them. Don't make multiple accounts or let other people use yours. Most of this stuff is pretty common sense, but you would be surprised how often people are suspended for that. More can be learned from MTurk's Participation Agreement, however some of it isn't clear or is misleading.
My account is under review. What does this mean?
  • Since this doesn't directly relate to suspensions, I am of no help. For more information regarding this, search the MTurk subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/mturk/
I got suspended because Amazon claims the information I provided to Payments did not match up. What can I do?
  • This thread is not meant to cover this issue. None of the information I have in this post is directed toward it. The MTurk reddit linked above has regular conversations about it, so try there. I will still send you the additional email for this, but I can't promise it will get anything done for you.
You mentioned in your post that you have another email I can use. How do I get it?
  • You have to PM me to get it. As mentioned in the post, I had to get approval from the moderation team to give it out. It will not be posted publicly because it is a personal account. I shouldn't need to add this to the FAQ since I plainly mentioned it in the main post, but I keep getting asked about this.
How should I PM you?
 

turking_seriously

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Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

Thank you for your patience while we reviewed your account. After review, we have determined that you have violated the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Participation Agreement. As a result, your account will remain closed.
 

ducky

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Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

Thank you for your patience while we reviewed your account. After review, we have determined that you have violated the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) Participation Agreement. As a result, your account will remain closed.
What about the initial one? The one that says the claim for why you were suspended
 
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turking_seriously

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What about the initial one? The one that says the claim for why you were suspended
Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

We were unable to validate important details about your Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) account. As a result, your account has been suspended pending additional verification. At this time, we need you to verify your identity so we can reinstate your account.

In order to verify your identity, please send us a copy of your driver’s license or an equivalent government issued Identification Document (ID). You can provide your ID by sending a scanned copy to our secure fax line at 1-206-569-1407. In addition, please be sure to type or clearly print the following information at the top of the document to help us identify you:

-- Your first and last name
-- The email you use to log into your MTurk Worker account
 

ecko

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Greetings from Amazon Mechanical Turk,

We were unable to validate important details about your Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) account. As a result, your account has been suspended pending additional verification. At this time, we need you to verify your identity so we can reinstate your account.

In order to verify your identity, please send us a copy of your driver’s license or an equivalent government issued Identification Document (ID). You can provide your ID by sending a scanned copy to our secure fax line at 1-206-569-1407. In addition, please be sure to type or clearly print the following information at the top of the document to help us identify you:

-- Your first and last name
-- The email you use to log into your MTurk Worker account
This email is telling you that something you entered when you signed up (your name, address, country, etc) didn't check out and they can't give you an account. This was def not because of a script or panda crazy.
 

turking_seriously

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I actually needed the email of the employee that Metallica was mentioning. Can someone help?
 

ducky

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I actually needed the email of the employee that Metallica was mentioning. Can someone help?
I don't believe he ever posted publicly who the employee was to prevent spamming and things like that. I personally don't know which employee he worked with. If you've already done what that initial email asked you to, I would suggest you keep calling them by the number they provided. I've heard from others that calling usually gets better help in instances like that. Good luck, hopefully it gets resolved.
 
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