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Is this is a scam?
Thread poster: Sandra Alboum

Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:38
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 21, 2008

Hi.

I am very familiar with the usual scams.... but I got this across my desk this morning and have never seen it. Anyone have any thoughts? I can't figure out if it's just some desperate person or someone who is going to want me to send them money eventually.

Thoughts appreciated. If it's real, I don't want to seem cold-hearted!

From "XXX@yahoo.com)"

hello, my name is XXX, and I'm from Indonesia. Now I'm studying in English Literature Department University of Sumatera Utara. I take linguistics major.

I get your email by the internet and I hope you can help me

Now, I work on my thesis, and the tittle of my thesis is "A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS BETWEEN ENGLISH AND SPANISH PAST TENSES".

The roblem is, my lecturers didn't know about spanish grammar at all, and they afraid that I didn't do it well so to pass me on the final test, they ask me to bring a spanish native speaker or someone who can speak spanish. But I can't find it in my town...

So please..be generous to me, I'm asking for your help.
Here's my plan, after I finishing my thesis, I will send the copy, and after that you can send the letter that certified that my thesis is right, because you are the expert.

Please, please and please...
I don't know what to do, I hope you can help me....

Sincerely Yours,
XXX


[Edited at 2008-05-21 17:32]

[Edited at 2008-05-21 17:33]


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Elena Robles Sanjuan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:38
English to Spanish
It´s difficult to tell... May 21, 2008

I know why you´re having doubts, Sandra, so would I. This person sounds pretty genuine to me, yet she´s asking for a very bizarre favour. With nothing else to get by, it´s impossible to figure out what she might me after, if this is truly a scam.

On one hand, I can´t understand why somebody who knows that her lecturers don´t have a proper command of the Spanish grammar takes such a risk and works on a thesis that certainly requires a great deal of knowledge on the subject.

On the other, I find it very difficult to believe that her lecturers would admit their lack of expertise, by accepting a certificate from a complete stranger.

If you decide that this is worth going ahead with, ask her to speak with her lecturers and have them contact you with an explanation. If this is genuine, you need to know from them that they´d accept your revision of the thesis and whatever outcome it produces.

Good luck !


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
My advice May 21, 2008

Three questions:

1. Does this individual write as though he's genuinely studying English at university level?

2. Ever heard of a thesis topic being accepted when there's no-one suitable in the department to act as supervisor?

3. Ever heard of a university which would accept the word of an unknown third party that a thesis is correct in order to pass someone?

Don't know what you think, but my answers to all three are a resounding NO.

My advice: delete the message and move on.

Hope this helps
Debs




[Edited at 2008-05-21 13:30]


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 17:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Paraphrase? May 21, 2008

...
The problem is, I didn't know about spanish grammar at all, and I'm afraid that I didn't do it well so to pass me on the final test, so I figured I could cheat with the help of a spanish native speaker or someone who can speak spanish. But I can't find it in my town...

So please..be generous to me, I'm asking for your help.
Here's my plan, after I finishing my draft thesis, I will send the copy, and after that you can edit it to ensure that my thesis is right, because you are the expert.
...

Ah! - the wonders of the Internet!

MediaMatrix


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Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:38
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
and such an e-mail address... May 21, 2008

Hi, Sandra,

I agree with the others. It looks like a scam to me.

And the e-mail address includes a Catalan name. I would say this person should have a way to solve this without bothering you. And it looks terribly fishy, with this "love" and all... I wouldn't even have opened the message, let alone consider the possibility of lending a hand (I would have been afraid of viruses and stuff).

I think you can forget about it without worries of being cold-hearted...

Rosa


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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:38
Member (2009)
English to French
Another thing wrong May 21, 2008

"I get your email by the internet and I hope you can help me"

To me this was the sentence that sounded fishy. I got your adress on the internet, how more vague can you be? I don't bother replying to anyone who can't at least tell me where they have found my adress (ProZ, agency database or other).

Altought I would probably ask her where she has found my address, just for the fun of it.

At any rate, asking help to a complete stranger on the internet always seems fishy to me.


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:38
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
delete May 21, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Three questions:

1. Does this individual write as though he's genuinely studying English at university level?

2. Ever heard of a thesis topic being accepted when there's no-one suitable in the department to act as supervisor?

3. Ever heard of a university which would accept the word of an unknown third party that a thesis is correct in order to pass someone?

Don't know what you think, but my answers to all three are a resounding NO.

My advice: delete the message and move on.

Hope this helps
Debs




[Edited at 2008-05-21 13:30]


Totally agree.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:38
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with Deb May 21, 2008

I agree with all the points Deb made. It looks like this person wants some free editing.

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Yolanda Bello  Identity Verified
Mexico
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Delete May 21, 2008

It is a scam as everyone here has pointed out.

Y


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:38
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Deb May 21, 2008

Also, I can assure you, as a former graduate studies lecturer that if this situation ever DID arise, it would be the job of the thesis supervisor or department head to get in touch with the "expert" and arrange for them to critique or sit on the thesis board. Makes sense, no? Otherwise, we would all have called in our best friends, mothers and buddies to certify our thesis topics. Delete...

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:38
French to English
Fishy, but a scam?? May 21, 2008

Sounds odd, fo' shizzle!

I would reckon someone studying English Lit ought to be able to write it slightly better than that.
You've already opened it so they know your address is active, if it is some shady practitioner.
I'm not sure how it can be a scam, though. Not at this stage, at least.
Scams usually initially appeal to greed - offers that are too good to be true, something apparently for nothing, etc. Indeed, they usually sucker you in by offering something first. This doesn't appear to apply here, unless it's just an opening gambit to get your attention before the scam bit starts.

Apart from screwing some free work out of you (bad enough, perhaps), I fail to see how this is suckering you into anything this point.

Still, I expect people like me said that when the first Nigerian scam was pulled... although in that case, I do thnk it would have rung my "too good to be true" alarm
This just doesn't fit the pattern... curiouser and curiouser...


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Hendarto Setiadi  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:38
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Probably not a scam May 21, 2008

Hi Sandra,

I think this is a genuine request for assistance. The thing is, the asker probably has a different concept regarding help/assistance than people from other cultural backgrounds, especially western. You could encourage the person to contact the following Spanish institutions in Indonesia:

Spanish embassy: embespid@mail.mae.es
Spanish cultural institute (Instituto Cervantes): aula.yakarta@cervantes.es

I believe they have the resources to handle such requests.

Regards,
Hendarto

P.S. The University of Sumatra Utara does exist and does have an English Department.


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 18:38
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just an assistance request May 21, 2008

Hendarto Setiadi wrote:

Hi Sandra,

I think this is a genuine request for assistance. The thing is, the asker probably has a different concept regarding help/assistance than people from other cultural backgrounds, especially western. You could encourage the person to contact the following Spanish institutions in Indonesia:

Spanish embassy: embespid@mail.mae.es
Spanish cultural institute (Instituto Cervantes): aula.yakarta@cervantes.es

I believe they have the resources to handle such requests.

Regards,
Hendarto

P.S. The University of Sumatra Utara does exist and does have an English Department.


I also think this is a genuine request. And Hendarto's proposal is appropriate.
Nevertheless, Juliana is right when she says: if this situation ever DID arise, it would be the job of the thesis supervisor or department head to get in touch with the "expert" and arrange for them . That student shouldn't be let alone by the head of department.

Kind regards

Clarisa Moraña


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Refer to the Instituto Cervantes May 22, 2008

Hendarto Setiadi wrote:
Spanish embassy: embespid@mail.mae.es
Spanish cultural institute (Instituto Cervantes): aula.yakarta@cervantes.es

I believe they have the resources to handle such requests.


Yes, I entirely agree with this.


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Margarita Gonzalez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:38
English to Spanish
The extra mile? May 27, 2008

Hi Sandra,
If you are willing to spend a little time, I'd suggest you write to the university and find out. A quick search showed: http://www.usu.ac.id/id/default.php
If it's a student who wants a free ride, the university ought to take care of it; if it isn't, the university ought to be in touch with you, and should you accept, at least give you credit for your work.
Saludos,
Margarita


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