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E-Mail Scam targeted at Interpreters
Thread poster: Ulrike Lieder
Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
English to German
+ ...
Oct 27, 2004

There's a new e-mail scam going around, apparently targeted quite specifically at interpreters. The messages, written in rather poor English, generally request the interpreters' services for someone's daughter's shopping trip. You can find the text of the message in the warning below:

http://www.iti.org.uk/pages/news/viewNews.asp?article=30

If you should receive such an unusual request, beware!


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Maria Eugenia Farre  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have received it Oct 27, 2004

Ulrike

Thanks for the heads up. I received a very similar e-mail a month or so ago. They wanted to know my banking information so that they could pay me in advance. I found that suspicious and said that they can pay me up to 15 days after the event. I also asked them what was the end client. No word from then ever since.


Follows the transcript of the conversation I had with "Mary Ann":


Dear Mary Ann

There is no need for you to send payment in advance. If the deal is closed, you can pay me 15 days after the completion of the interpreting assignment. I think I am ready to send you an estimate for the job. Could you please let me what company is the end client so that I can address my estimate properly?

Best regards

Maria Eugênia Farré


thanks for your response,its going to be in uk and also you will assist them to communicate during brakes and after the conference,and this will be 6 hours per day and also i will arrange for the hotel in which you will lodge with them and also i will be responsible for food and whatever may be your need during the stay iam not an interpreter but i work in oil company base in uk but presently iam in japan on a company assignment,also iam going to direct my associate there in usa to send payment to you as soon as i have your name and address including your phone number to send the money to you.
also i will give you a call as soon as iam back so that i can give you a full details of everything but now let me know what your payment will be and your address s that my associate can send that to you.so let me know what your payment will be for the whole periods.




Maria Eugenia Farre wrote:
Dear Mary Ann

Thank you for your message. I am not sure I understood correctly the location where the event will be held. South Wales, UK or the US? I am based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. So that I can provide you with an estimate I would need to know:

- type of interpreting needed (simultaneous, consecutive, liaison)
- no. of hours a day the interpreters will be needed (we usually adopt a six-hour day when working with simultaneous equipment)
- subject matter (technical areas involved)

Looking forward to your reply,

Maria Eugênia Farré




----- Original Message -----
From: mary ann
To: Maria Eugenia Farré
Sent: Saturday, September 04, 2004 1:01 AM
Subject: enquiry




hello i will like to engage your service as an
interpreter of {portuguese to English}
language,i have a team of 4 people who
are coming to the usa
for 4 days bussiness workshop,so your personal
assistance will be needed for
thier stays over there.the event will come up
between december 1st and december 4th
2004 and it will come south wales in uk so
please let me hear from
you if your service will be available.
pls note all travelling expenses will be settled






Ulrike Lieder wrote:

There's a new e-mail scam going around, apparently targeted quite specifically at interpreters. The messages, written in rather poor English, generally request the interpreters' services for someone's daughter's shopping trip. You can find the text of the message in the warning below:

http://www.iti.org.uk/pages/news/viewNews.asp?article=30

If you should receive such an unusual request, beware!



[Edited at 2004-10-27 16:51]


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Cristina Moldovan do Amaral  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:03
Member (2002)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Does this sound familiar? Oct 27, 2004

There is something strange though. Mary Ann never asked for my account number. I wonder what was the purpose of these e-mails.

'hello i will like to engage your service as an
interpreter of {romania to English}
language,i have a team of 4 people who
are coming to the usa
for 4 days bussiness workshop,so your personal
assistance will be needed for
thier stays over there.the event will come up
between december 1st and december 4th
2004 and it will come south wales in uk so
please let me hear from
you if your service will be available.
pls note all travelling expenses will be settled' (Sept. 04. 2004)




'thanks for your response,its going to be in connecticut and you will assist them to communicate during brakes and after the conference,and this will be 6 hours per day and also i will arrange for the hotel in which you will lodge with them and also i will be responsible for food and whatever may be your need during the stay iam not an interpreter but i work in oil company base in uk but presently iam in japan on a company assignment,also iam going to direct my associate there in usa to send payment to you as soon as i have your name and address including your phone number to send the money to you.
also i will give you a call as soon as iam back so that i can give you a full details of everything but now let me know what your payment will be and your address s that my associate can send that to you.so let me know what your payment will be for the whole periods.' (Sept. 05. 2004)


'thanks i will get the payment send to you soon and call you to
confirm if you recieve it so that we may discuss further and better.
thanks.' (Sept. 06. 2004)

And I haven't heard from her again......


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Matt Baird
Germany
Local time: 12:03
German to English
How the scam works... Dec 10, 2004

I was just contacted by this scam artist last week. I suspected from the beginning that this was a scam but couldn't figure out how they would do it with just my contact information. Well, I just learned how from a post on the ATA website. Apparently, once you have given them your address and rates, they send you a supposedly certified check in excess of what you quoted them. They either tell you it was a mistake or that it is extra spending money for their trip and give you an account to send it to. They ask you to depost the check and send them the excess. By the time the bank figures out the check is a fake, you have already sent them this supposed excess.

Here is the text from the email I received including the email address for other's information. Let's continue to get the word out on this.

From: bukkyet timat [mailto:mrs_bukkyet@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 10:42 PM
Subject: service require
hello,
i will like to engage your service as an interpreter of {English to german}
language,my daughters are coming to your country[oregon in uk], for 5 days shopping
trip,so your personal assistance will be needed for thier stays over there.this will come up
between december 12st and december 17th 2004 ,so please let me hear from
you if your service will be available.pls note all travelling expenses will be settled


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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yep, they're at it again - some tips that might help to avoid falling into the fake check trap... Dec 10, 2004

Apparently there's another round of this currently underway; I received the following last week, and I know of several other colleagues (with various language combinations) who received the exact same message - verbatim, including all the mistakes...
(BTW, the subject line of the mail simply read: "URGENT!")

Hello This is Mr Garry Taib From
Freelance Dept of Rollon Data Company.
e-strausburg 3a,
holland,the netherlands.
This is to inform you of a seminar taking place in tx and your service will be needed.
My staffs are coming over to the united state for a 4days which is between 14 of Dec till 17 of Dec,seminar which is taking place in a hotel hall in texas and which involves the discussion of Business around us today Globally.
I will want you to let me know your price to interprete German to English because the German counterparts are attending the seminar and in case the German are opening table speech you will be able to interprete for my staff because they only understand English.
Let me know your price to do the 4days interpreting for them and also the seminar is taken place in a hotel which i will email you the address as soon as i get a response from you.
Your accomodation and feeding fees will be handled by us and all other social amenities required ok.
Just email me your interpreting price and also your full name,address and cellphone nbr so i can have a Certified check from a usa bank send to you.
I will be waiting to read from you asap.
Mr Garry Taib,
Freelance Dept,
Rollon Data Company.


Here are some tips (from the ATA Interpreters' Division) on how to avoid these fake check scams. (Of course, the very best way to avoid them is to simply delete these "inquiries")

Tips for Recognizing and Avoiding Fake Check Scams
If someone you don’t know wants to pay you by check but wants you to wire some of the money back, beware! It’s a scam that could cost you thousands of dollars.
• There are many variations of the fake check scam. It could start with someone offering to buy something you advertised, pay you to do work at home, give you an “advance” on a sweepstakes you’ve supposedly won, or pay the first installment on the millions that you’ll receive for agreeing to have money in a foreign country transferred to your bank account for safekeeping. Whatever the pitch, the person may sound quite believable.
• Fake check scammers hunt for victims. They scan newspaper and online advertisements for people listing items for sale, and check postings on online job sites from people seeking employment. They place their own ads with phone numbers or email addresses for people to contact them. And they call or send emails or faxes to people randomly, knowing that some will take the bait.
• They often claim to be in another country. The scammers say it’s too difficult and complicated to send you the money directly from their country, so they’ll arrange for someone in the U.S. to send you a check.
• They tell you to wire money to them after you’ve deposited the check. If you’re selling something, they say they’ll pay you by having someone in the U.S. who owes them money send you a check. It will be for more than the sale price; you deposit the check, keep what you’re owed, and wire the rest to them. If it’s part of a work-at-home scheme, they may claim that you’ll be processing checks from their “clients.” You deposit the checks and then wire them the money minus your “pay.” Or they may send you a check for more than your pay “by mistake” and ask you to wire them the excess. In the sweepstakes and foreign money offer variations of the scam, they tell you to wire them money for taxes, customs, bonding, processing, legal fees, or other expenses that must be paid before you can get the rest of the money.
• The checks are fake but they look real. In fact, they look so real that even bank tellers may be fooled. Some are phony cashiers checks, others look like they’re from legitimate business accounts. The companies whose names appear may be real, but someone has dummied up the checks without their knowledge.
• You don’t have to wait long to use the money, but that doesn’t mean the check is good. Under federal law, banks have to make the funds you deposit available quickly – usually within one to five days, depending on the type of check. But just because you can withdraw the money doesn’t mean the check is good, even if it’s a cashier’s check. It can take weeks for the forgery to be discovered and the check to bounce.
• You are responsible for the checks you deposit. That’s because you’re in the best position to determine the risk – you’re the one dealing directly with the person who is arranging for the check to be sent to you. When a check bounces, the bank deducts the amount that was originally credited to your account. If there isn’t enough to cover it, the bank may be able to take money from other accounts you have at that institution, or sue you to recover the funds. In some cases, law enforcement authorities could bring charges against the victims because it may look like they were involved in the scam and knew the check was counterfeit.
• There is no legitimate reason for someone who is giving you money to ask you to wire money back. If a stranger wants to pay you for something, insist on a cashiers check for the exact amount, preferably from a local bank or a bank that has a branch in your area.
• Don’t deposit it – report it! Report fake check scams to the National Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch, a service of the nonprofit National Consumers League, at www.fraud.org or (800) 876-7060. That information will be transmitted to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.






[Edited at 2004-12-10 00:52]

[Edited at 2004-12-10 00:53]

[Edited at 2004-12-10 00:54]


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BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
English to French
+ ...
Scam: And the winner is... the Prince of Ghana Dec 14, 2004

Hello All,

Ah! My guy is introducing himself as the Prince Nana Koffi from Ghana - which, interestingly, is a Republic. And he lives in Cape Coast Castle, which more interestingly... is now a Museum.

Same stuff: would pay in advance for interpretation job.

I think I'll send him a cheque drawn on "Zurichian Banco da Mickey Mouse", see if his banker likes it.

Thx for all at Proz for saving me time.

Has anyone any idea on how to fight these scammers back?

Best regards

Jean

Ulrike Lieder wrote:

There's a new e-mail scam going around, apparently targeted quite specifically at interpreters. The messages, written in rather poor English, generally request the interpreters' services for someone's daughter's shopping trip. You can find the text of the message in the warning below:

http://www.iti.org.uk/pages/news/viewNews.asp?article=30

If you should receive such an unusual request, beware!

[/quote]


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Dr. Chrys Chrystello  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
more scam Jan 1, 2005

Mine came from Groenland... the same as with Eugênia ... after a couple of mails askingg for details they vanished....

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Kathi Stock  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:03
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Mary Ann & the Prince of Ghana Jan 1, 2005

I also received the emails from Mary Ann, saying that her 3 daughters need an interpreter. I am glad that I never got the promised upfront cheque. A couple weeks later I also got an email from the Prince of Ghana. This time I didn't even respond since our neighbour, an exchange student from Ghana, told me that there is no prince in Ghana.

I really hope that nobody fell for them and their scam.

Kathi


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Mingy  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Danish to English
My email scam was also a prince Jan 3, 2005

I was contacted by a Prince Farouq al Ismail who was supposedly visiting Denmark with his wife and two sons. Same deal as everyone else - my rate plus some extra funds for 'unforeseen expenses before arrival'. Fortunately as soon as I was told that a 'personal assistant from West Africa' would be sending me a cheque, the alarm bells began to ring. I had heard of a more extensive scam coming out of Lagos some years ago. The cheque arrived via DHL with 6 other letters which I was supposed to post from here. 1 letter to a colleague in DK(who had been given exactly the same details), 2 to Greece and 2 to France. I could see through the envelopes that they were all cheques from different banks. I did not send them on. Funnily enough, another cheque for the same amount arrived - posted from England so I imagine someone over there got scammed as well. After having contacted the fraud dept. of the local police I was told that there is nothing they can do from here. The only thing they can do is gather the information from reports and have articles published in national newspapers to warn people of this type of scam.

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Letizia Alhaique Caioli  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
English to Italian
Prince of Ghana in Nigeria! Jan 6, 2005

Dear Colleagues:
when you have 15 minutes to spare and want to have some fun, please read this:
http://www.419eater.com/
Besides the fun of reading what the anti-scammer is doing, read the tips!
Ciao to everybody,
Letizia


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spider-man
English to French
Translators - Email Scams (Warning!) Jan 21, 2005

It seems they are going for another round in Europe (jan/feb 2005). Here is the message that I am forwarding arround. (It refreshes this thread a little + sums up the scam process + gives a few links)

::::::::::::::

Hello,

There is a serious email scam going on on some translators sites.

Free Lance translators are contacted for an interpret/shopping assistant job. The client insist on paying in advance. He uses a free (yahoo,hotmail) email adresse, asks for your name and address to send you check.

(If you trace the emails with a traceroute, they usually come from Nigeria...)

Then they try to send you a check of more then what they owe, and then ask you to transfer the difference back to them. Of course, their check is false, but it can take more than a week for the bank to find out...

This is not very new...
Here are more info on this topic:

http://www.proz.com/topic/26069
{links removed by staff}
http://419eater.com/html/links.htm

There is a new "scam round" that started about mid january asking jobs in Europe for the begging of february 2005.

Please forward the message to freelance translators websites.

Thank you.


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Nabil Baradey
Local time: 14:03
English to Arabic
+ ...
Again! Feb 1, 2005

I have received two similar e-mails about a month ago. God! Do they think we are so rich or, worse, so foolish!

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Dan Kenig  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:03
French to English
+ ...
Thank you all for helping me ascertain that my Ghana clergyman is probably unholy Apr 23, 2005

Hello - just to inform everyone that thay are really hitting again in Europe - mine pretended to be a priest. The email I received was quite suspicious but too personalized to be dismissed immediately, as it seemed there was a slim chance it could be "kosher" after all (it was onlym sent to me, referred to my specific language combination, and all in all seemed to deserve the benefit of the doubt). So I actually phoned the guy - the number was on the email - see below the full text - and when he told me that "his sponsor would send me a check that exceeded the estimate cost and would want me to send back the change according to instructions that would follow", that did it, of course. I searched the net to find similar scams - and only managed to find this forum by chance, after pasting a few sentences from the email I received into Google... Funny, I'm a PROZ member for more than two years (and in the profession more than 15...) but it simply did not occur to me to look for info on scams here, nor did I imagine such scams could become so personalized (they actually adapt the languages and requirements to interpreters' profile).

For whatever it's worth, here's the text I received - for everyone to beware, and to alert other colleagues.

BEWARE SCAM LETTER TEXT FOLLOWS=============================

Hello,
I am Bishop Steven Kwame. Am an English speaking clearly from Ghana. I will be coming over to Paris on holidays from 1st of May to the 10th of May 2005 for a 10 days vacation with my Hebrew wife, daughter and son of the ages of 3 and 5 respectively. My wife Rev Choice Kwame. Only speaks Hebrew and my native language, because her mum happens to come from Ghana. We will require the services of a Hebrew 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. 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 France. An early reply will be appreciated.
Remain Blessed.
His Lordship.
Bishop Steven Kwame.
Tel: +233-243610893
BEWARE SCAM LETTERS=============================


All the best to everyone and Happy Passover / Easter!

Dan KENIG


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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The (renewed) activity is not just limited to Europe... Apr 23, 2005

Dan Kenig wrote:


BEWARE SCAM LETTER TEXT FOLLOWS=============================

Hello,
I am Bishop Steven Kwame. Am an English speaking clearly from Ghana. I will be coming over to Paris on holidays from 1st of May to the 10th of May 2005 for a 10 days vacation with my Hebrew wife, daughter and son of the ages of 3 and 5 respectively. My wife Rev Choice Kwame. Only speaks Hebrew and my native language, because her mum happens to come from Ghana. We will require the services of a Hebrew 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. 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 France. An early reply will be appreciated.
Remain Blessed.
His Lordship.
Bishop Steven Kwame.
Tel: +233-243610893
BEWARE SCAM LETTERS=============================



The good bishop and his family must be a truly amazing bunch - apparently they are able to clone themselves, with the wife cloning herself to different nationalities to match the intended target's language pair, so as to spend their holidays in different parts of the world at the very same time...

I received the very same letter, except that he was coming to Tahoe City from May 1 to 10, with his wife and children, ages 3 and 5. His wife only speaks German... but, of course, her mum happens to be from Ghana. And the good Bishop will be attending church functions here in Tahoe City (hah! if he only knew how big Tahoe City is... he'd be able to take care of his "church functions" in 10 minutes...)

So, Dan, they are not only active again in Europe, but are also hitting addresses here in the US. I'd say you wasted a perfectly good phone call... I delete these messages immediately, even if they do seem "tailored" to my language combination and domicile.

Happy weekend





[Edited at 2005-04-23 02:53]

[Edited at 2005-04-23 02:53]


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