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Off topic: Internet Scam from Nigeria, Ghana, etc. targeting on the translators
Thread poster: Libin PhD
Libin PhD  Identity Verified
Chinese to English
+ ...
May 24, 2005

I have recently received two Nigerian scam letters saying that they want to use my interpreting service and ask for a quote. Normally they would say they are going to pay in advance. The catch is that they will say they also need other professional services, such as a photographer's service and they want to send you a check and then ask you to remit the remaining fund to the photographer after deducting your own fee.

If you agree, they will send you fake check and if your send out several thousand dollars from your own account to the photographer you will find out that the check they sent you cannot be cashed.

Here are the two letters I received today that appear to be from the same person:

FIRST LETTER


Hello Bin Li ,

I am Bishop Johnson Kofi .Am an English speaking
clearly from Ghana. I will be coming over to
Califoronia on holidays from 1st of June to the 10th
of June 2005 for a 10 days Vacation with my Chinese
wife, daughter and son of the ages of 3 and 5
respectively.

My wife Rev. Joyce Kofi only speaks English and my
native language, because her mum happens to come from
Ghana. We will require the services of a Chinese
translator for 5 hours daily X 10 days because I will
not always be with them on most occasions due to other
church functions which I most attend.

Please acknowledge if you can offer this service and
give me a price quote, and immediately call me on my
direct line as soon as you receive this email, so we
can conclude ASAP, as time is not really on our side.
We will like to pay in advance of our visit so she can
be assured of an interpreter during her shopping and sightseeing because this is her first visit to USA . An early reply will be appreciated.

Remain Blessed,

His Lordship,

Bishop Johnson Kofi.
Direct Lin: +233 243610893


SECOND LETTER

The following message was sent to you by a visitor to your personal homepage on Aquarius.net, the World's Language Network

Sender: bishoptobimensah@yahoo.com

--- message text ---

Hello,
I am Bishop Tobi Mensah.Am an English speaking clergy from Ghana.I will be coming over to Tempe AZ on vacation from 10th to the 20th of June 2005 for a 10 days vacation with my Chinese wife, daughter and son of the ages of 3 and 5 respectively. My wife Lora only speaks Chinese and my native language because her mother comes from Ghana. She will require the services of a Chinese interpreter, for 5 hours daily X 10 days because i will not always be with them on most occations due to other church functions which i must attend.Please acknowledge if you can offer this service and give me a price quote.We will like to pay in advance of our visit so she can be assured of an interpreter during her shopping and sightseeing because this is her first visit to US. An early reply will be appreciated.

Best Regards,
His Lordship,
Bishop Tobi Mensah.









[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-09-08 17:05]


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Zhoudan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:59
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
This happens... May 24, 2005

all the time.

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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
These con artists have very poor acting skills. May 24, 2005

Hi, Bin Li and Zhoudan,

I sometimes get such letters by email, too. I immediately mark them as "Junk" and trash them as soon as I see them. These people always start their email with a story. Their tell-tale approach is taking advantage of the innocent peoples sympathizing or taking a chance mentality. But, I have to say, these con artists have very poor acting skills. They think their readers would be as dumb as they are. I doubt any educated readers would buy their stories. I can pick up the fishy smell a mile away.

Kevin


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Berlingua
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
English to German
His Holyness contacted me in the UK/Ireland Jul 6, 2005

Hello Sebastian Rechenberger,

I am Bishop Johnson Kofi. Am an English speaking
clergy from Ghana. I will be coming over to Bangor, Co
Down on holidays from 15th of July to the 25th of July
2005 for a 10 days Vacation with my wife, and my
lovely daughter/son of the ages of 3 and 5
respectively.

We will require the services of an interpreter for 7
hours daily, 12noon to 7pm, though this could be very
flexibly, for 10 days. As i will not always be with
them on most occasions due to other
seminars/conference
which I will be attending. We will like to pay in
advance of our visit so she can be assured of an
interpreter during her shopping and sightseeing
because
this is her first visit to England.An early reply will

be appreciated.

Please aknowledge if you can offer this service ASAP
and give me a price quote, and it is most important,
you immediately call me on my direct line
(011233244033930) as soon as you receive this email,so
we can conclude on all other arrangemnts ASAP, as time
is not really on our side.

Remain Blessed,
His Lordship,
Bishop Johnson Kofi.
Tel:011233243879257
Direct Line: 011233244033930


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Libin PhD  Identity Verified
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Don't feel too bad Jul 10, 2005

egwidhcu wrote:

Hi:

About this bishop scam thing, unfortunately, I became a victim just this two months. I found out the cashier's check from them was a made up check and was returned just the other day. I felt really stupid and angry, but at the same time, I really want to warn as many fellow translators as possible.


Don't feel too bad. I don't think such scam can really cheat people out of their money. That is their purpose. As long as you don't loose any money, it is no big deal. As you said, we need to spread the word so that people will not fall for it.


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Watch out, folks, this scam is targeted at the interpreters. Jul 11, 2005

Libin and egwidhcu,

I am so sorry for the loss that egwidhcu had! Watch out, folks, this scam is targeted at the interpreters. Like egwidhcu said, she hopes her experience can help our translators from getting scammed by these lowlife creatures.

Li Bin, I think egwidhcu said she lost $5500 dollars. It worked like this: The scam artist made her to deposit a bad chasher's check as an advanced payment, and then asked her to return half of the total amount she received due to the canceling of their trip. She returned half of the total amount of money she received from them. Then, they cashed her good check. At the end, she found out that the initial check she received was a bad check. But it was too late, and she already got conned. Like she said, her bank might be responsible for it. If it was a bad check, why it got deposited fine and reflected the newly increased balance after the deposit. The new balance in her account fooled her and made her thought it was OK to send out her own check, because it seemed their money was in her account.

That's what I understood by reading her message above. If this is true, this is really disturbing! I am so sorry for egwidhcu. I hope there is a way to get her money recovered with the help of her lawyers.

I am searching my old emails right now to find the similar emails I received. I remember someone contacted me with the same story a couple months ago. It smelled fishy and I did not do much with it. I will post them here as soon as I find them.

Kevin

[Edited at 2005-07-11 00:57]


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Kevin Yang  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:59
Member (2003)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I also exchanged emails with "BISHOP ROBERT WILLIAMS" Jul 11, 2005

egwidhcu,

I wonder if this is the email you received initially. Please let me know. See below:



You have been sent a message via your ProZ.com page.
Author: BISHOP ROBERT WILLIAMS
[NOTE: The author is not a ProZ.com member or was not logged in when sending this message.]
Author's IP address: 80.179.249.37
Message type: Job-related
-----------

DEAR SIR,

I am Bishop Robert Williams . Am an English speaking clergy from Ghana. I will be coming over to United States, within the month for a 10 days vacation with my Chinese wife,daughter and son of the ages of 3 and 5 respectively.
My wife Rev.Comfort Mensah only speak Chinese language.
We will require the services of a Chinese interpreter for 5 hours daily X 10 days because I will not always be with them on most occasions due to other church functions which I may be attending.
Please acknowledge if you can offer this service and what will it cost me?.
We will like to pay in advance of our visit so she can be assured of an interpreter during her shopping and sightseeing because this is her first visit.
An early reply will be appreciated. Please indicate your operational base in your country so that I will know if it okay for me.

Remain Blessed,

His Lordship,
Bishop Robert William

NOTE THAT OUR SPONSOR WOULD PAY FOR THE COST OF YOUR
SERVICES IN CASHIER CHEQUE.


Then, I emailed him and asked the following questions: When you mentioned Chinese, do you mean Mandarin Chinese? Can you tell me what cities you are going to visit? Do you mean to hire one interpreter for all the cities or hire an interpreter for each city? Are you going to rent a car in each city? Do you expect the interpreter to drive you around to places?


----- Original Message -----
From: ROBERT WILLIAMS
To: Kevin Yang
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 2:53 AM
Subject: Re: [ProZ.com Mail] I NEED YOUR SERVICE


DEAR KEVIN YANG,
THANKS FOR YOUR MAIL.
YES MY WIFE SPEAKS MANDARIN CHINESE, WE WILL NEED ONLY ONE INTERPRETER ALL OTHER THINGS LIKE CAR WILL BE TAKEN CARE OF BY MY TRAVELLING AGENCY.
AS AT TODAY, MY TRAVELLING AGENCY HAVE NOT CONFIRMED THE DEPATURE DATE, BUT WE ARE LOOKING AT FROM 15TH TO 25TH OF THIS MONTH.
WE WILL BE NEEDING YOUR SERVICES FROM 11A .M TO 4.P.M DAILY, EXCLUDING SUNDAYS.
IT IS ALSO VERY IMPORTANT I INFORM YOU THAT,PLEASE WE WANT EVERYTHING TO BE CONCLUDED URGENTLY BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT WHEN ONCE AGREEMENT IS REACHED BETWEEN US AND YOU, IMMEDIATE ARRANGEMENT WILL BE MADE TO SEND THE CHEQUE TO YOU BY MY SPONSOR.
I JUST HAD A BRIEF MEETING WITH MY SPONSOR COUPLE OF MINUTES AGO AND HE INFORMED ME THAT HE WILL BE ABLE TO COVER ANY COST TO MAKE SURE THAT IMMEDIATE ARRANGEMENT FOR AN INTERPRETER IS CONCLUDED SO THAT IT WILL NOT AFFECT OUR INTENDED DATE OF DEPATURE, BECAUSE WE WILL CONFIRM THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE CHEQUE AND POSSIBLY CASH IT BEFORE OUR DEPARTURE.
DUE TO THE FACT THAT MY SPONSOR CAME ON BOARD AFTER TRAVELLING ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN CONCLDED WITH MY TRAVELLING AGENCY, HE HAS AGREED TO PAY BACK THE COST INCURED WITH MY TRAVELLING AGENCY, HE SAID THAT HE WILL PAY OUT ALL THE TOTAL COST IN ONE CHEQUE IN YOUR NAME SO THAT WHEN YOU CASH THE CHEQUE, YOU WILL TAKE YOUR OWN MONEY AND THEN SEND THE BALANCE TO THE TRAVELLING AGENCY TO COVER THEIR COST.
PLEASE CONFIRM TO ME THAT YOU WILL SEND THE BALANCE OF THE EXCESS MONEY THAT WILL BE SENT TO YOU TO THE TRAVELLING AGENCY TO COVER ALL THEIR EXPENCES.
I WILL BE PLEASED IF WHILE GIVING ME ALL THE OTHER DETAILS, INCLUDE YOUR RESIDENCIAL MAILING ADDRESS WHERE THE CHEQUE WILL BE SENT TO YOU.
ALSO SEND YOUR PHONE NUMBER SO THAT I CAN CALL YOU ON PHONE.
IT IS GOOD KNOWING THAT EVERYTHING COULD BE TAKEN CARE OF REAL FAST.
I AM WAITING.

REMAIN BLESSED
BISHOP ROBERT WILLIAMS



He talked strange, and it smelled fishy. It began to alert me because he did not reveal his contacting information and mailing addrss, except mentioned his country "Ghana". I emailed him and said:

"Thank you for the email. I noticed that you did not answer my question in my previous email. Your answers to All my questions I asked in my previous email will help me to estimate the cost of interpreter and my service. Here are the questions again:

Can you tell me what cities you are going to visit? Do you mean to hire one interpreter for all the cities or hire an interpreter for each city? Are you going to rent a car in each city? Do you expect the interpreter to drive you around to places?"

Then, he replied:


DEAR MR.YANG,
I HAVE ANSWERED MOST OF YOUR QUESTIONS.
WE WILL BE VISITING WASHINGTON D.C AND NEWJERSEY.
MY WIFE SPEAK MANDARIN
WE WILL NOT NEED A DRIVER.
A DRIVER AND MEANS OF TRANSPORT HAVE BEEN ARRANGED.
WE NEED ONLY ONE INTERPRETER FOR ALL THE CITIES.


I told him that I was not suitable for this job, because I was in the west coast. The cost would be too much for him. Then, he emailed the following:



HELLO KEVIN,
HENCE WE ARE ON HOLIDAY, ALL WE WANT IS TO OCOME OVER THOUGH WASHINGTON WAS MY PREFERENCE, BUT BECAUSE OF YOUR IMPORTANCE AND THIS IS OUR FIRST VISIT, WE HAVE DECIDED TO COME TO PORTLAND OREGON, BUT OUR DEPATURE DATE HAS CHANGED.
LIKE I INFORMEDD YOU OF THE UNCERTAINTY OF OUR DEPATURE DATE, MY TRAVELLING AGENCY CONFIRMED TO ME THAT DUE THE LITTLE NUMBER OF FLIGHT TO AMERICA, WE HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED TO ARRIVE AMERICA ON THE 25TH MORNING.
IN THE LIGHT OF THIS THEREFORE, YOUR SERVICES WILL BE NEEDED FROM THE 25TH OF JUNE TO 5TH OF JULY 2005.
ALL OTHER AGREEMENTS REMAIN CONFIRMED.
PLEASE CONFIRM TO ME IF YOU WILL STILL BE AVALIABLE FOR THE NEW DATES SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE WITH OUR FINAL ARRANGEMENTS.
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AS INFORMED.

REMAIN BLESSED.

BISHOP WILLIAMS



See, he said his plan was to go to Washington D.C. and New Jercy, and now he changed his plan to visit Portland, Oregon, just because I was important.[To think of it now, "important" here can be understood as "you are a potential sucker".] I stopped to communicate with him at this point. I wish I had brought it to your attention then. It was not clear if this happened before or after egwidhcu got conned. Anyway, now, you have it.

Kevin

[Edited at 2005-07-11 03:51]


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Libin PhD  Identity Verified
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
New Scam using ATA's directory Jul 29, 2005

Good day,

I saw your information at the American Translators Association's Online Directory of Translation and Interpreting Services and I will like to engage for your service as an interpreter for my daughters who are coming to your region in CA, USA for 5 days conference meeting and your personal assistance as an interpreter will be needed for thier stays over there for only 4hrs daily. This will come up between 27th to 30th of August 2005. you will be needed to interprete Chinese into English language for them only whenever they are going out for shopping and visiting some other beautiful places. could you get back to me on time with your service rate for the period of 4hrs / 5days if your service will be available.
Note all neccessary for food, travelling, accomodation and other expenses will be arranged as soon as they arrive. so let me know your total rate for the the whole period and also let me have your full name and address so that full payment can be send to you in advance via check. so please e mail me the following informations for the payment.
NAME;
ADDRESS;
PHONE NUMBER;
Thanks and I will be looking forward to hearing back from you soonest.

Regards
Mirriel Zusien


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Lin Yang  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:59
English to Chinese
+ ...
Hello, Li. Jul 29, 2005

Libin, Ph.D. wrote:

Good day,

I saw your information at the American Translators Association's Online Directory of Translation and Interpreting Services and I will like to engage for your service as an interpreter for my daughters who are coming to your region in CA, USA for 5 days conference meeting and your personal assistance as an interpreter will be needed for thier stays over there for only 4hrs daily.
...

Regards
Mirriel Zusien



Hello, Dr. Li. How are you?

I got an exactly same email from this Mirrel Zusien today. I guess they just stoped using the old story of the "African Prince's Chinese wife" and came up with this new plot. hehe...

Anyway, just want to remind every colleague that whenever you feel something is too good to be true. Chances are your instinct is right. Like this one, they offered to pay in advance. That is the bait.

Dr. Li, have a nice weekend.


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sofsof
Local time: 13:59
Russian to English
+ ...
same thing, check out my story at: Aug 9, 2005

www.citizenofthemonth.com/2005/06/27/the-bishop-from-nigeria/

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Edward LIU  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:59
Chinese to English
+ ...
The play continues... Aug 15, 2005

I received an instant message from funsho_kupo2001@yahoo.com today who pretended that he is Mr. Funsho Kupo-lokun. Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The story is exactly like one of those typical scam letters.

funsho_kupo2001: i awarded a contract and it was overdrafted by me and some of my collegues in the accounting department
funsho_kupo2001: so now i have been able to transfer the funds that is left over $45million usd to Togo but now i am looking for who would help me collect this funds from the Diplomat in the Asia and help me invest pending till the year i would retire from the government
funsho_kupo2001: thats why i want you to help with this
funsho_kupo2001: all i want you to do is help me invest in whatever you feel that we would both benefit from
funsho_kupo2001: i am willing to go into a 50-50 deal with you to tell you how serious i am

50% of $45million. What a tempting bait it is.


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