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phony email asking about "interpreting training"
Thread poster: Rachel Vanarsdall

Rachel Vanarsdall  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:59
Member (2004)
French to English
Sep 5, 2006


Something's fishy here - anyone else get this?

"Rachel -

Would you mind signing me up for the next interpreting training with Charlie? Thanks!

By the way, what is the date for that?


I won't post the contact info given in case the sender has hijacked someone else's name.

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Faruk Atabeyli  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:59
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
SPAM Sep 5, 2006

Spam with a personal touch.... unless you are really signing up people for training.

When in doubt, I consider it spam. If it is not, sender should learn not to write his/her messages like one.

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:59
French to English
+ ...
an honest mistake? Sep 5, 2006

your average scam email contains something asking for your contact details/bank information. This looks like someone who has mistaken you for another Rachel - perhaps you are in their address book for some reason. People send emails to the wrong person by mistake all the time.

Also, your average scammer won't go to the trouble of including your first name - another pointer that this is a mistake.

I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who can explain how this 'scam' might work, given that Rachel presumably can't book him onto any interpreting training.

[Edited at 2006-09-05 20:29]

[Edited at 2006-09-06 11:16]

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Jande  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:59
Danish to English
+ ...
be careful Sep 6, 2006

Most scammers do actually go to the trouble of including your name and being casual. They want to make it as believable as possible.

I don't believe this is an honest mistake.

Whatever you do don't reply to it.

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Rachel Vanarsdall  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:59
Member (2004)
French to English
false alarm Sep 6, 2006

[quote]Angela Dickson wrote:

People send emails to the wrong person by mistake all the time.

Actually it turned out Angela was right. I did a little digging in my trash folder and realized I'd received a couple other messages from this person a few months ago - one of which was so bizarre I also assumed it had to be some kind of trick to get me to reply.

I'm always wary of fishy-sounding messages looking for a response, because that's how spammers can confirm they've found a live email account... but then I realized that the "personal touches" were so accurate - the right name and the right field - that whoever sent it already had to know that it was a real address.

I didn't recognize the name of his company, but I checked their website and realized they have a connection to a translation agency I've worked with in the past. So I sent a note (through the link on the company web page, just in case) and quickly got a response that indeed, the email I had received was intended for another Rachel.

SO the wishywashy message of the day is - be careful, but trust your fellow man once in a while ....

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:59
French to English
+ ...
Even so... Sep 6, 2006

I'm glad to hear it wasn't anything untoward after all, but I think you were right to be wary. I suppose it's academic now, but had it not been for the previous messages you discovered, I personally would not have replied because:

At best (and, as it turns out, in fact) it was a genuine mistake. If you didn't reply, the worst that could have happened was that Isaac would have found himself persona non grata at the next interpreter training session (not really the end of the world, and if he was that bothered about attending he could have tried phoning when you didn't reply to his e-mail - after all, he's on first-name terms with this Rachel, so I think it's reasonably likely he'd be able to find out her phone number too if he didn't already have it).

At worst, though, it could have been someone trying to take a slightly more original tack than your average scammer by convincing you that it had to be a genuine mistake, and thereby making it more likely that you would reply. I don't know what they might have followed up this opening gambit with, but if I were a scammer (perish the thought!) I would *not* write to someone with a far-fetched story about a vast sum of money needing to be stashed in some foreign account to evade the tax authorities of some country or other, nor would I ask someone for their personal details on first contact. Even the old "oops, we sent you a cheque for too much, can you send a cheque to X for the excess ASAP?" is relatively well-known to translators now, I would venture to say (and has certainly been discussed here, at any rate). Maybe it's just that I have a devious mind (have I missed my vocation in life?!), but I'd want to find some way of convincing my intended victim that my message was not an attempt at a scam. I admit that doing something like this - appearing to mistake you for someone else - would be *very* elaborate (simpler to pose as an agency and offer work), but maybe this is exactly what a scammer would want us to think, to convince us it can't be a scam?! The more elaborate, the more convincing, I suppose...

Seriously though, let's not underestimate scammers: as we, and others, wise up to their strategies, they have to find better ways of reeling us in. I hate to be so cynical (a trait that comes from my mother's side of the family), but my way of looking at it is: it never hurts to be cautious, however unlikely it may seem that a message is from a would-be scammer. In this situation I don't think you stood to lose anything by not replying, so it was as safe a course of action as any.

[Módosítva: 2006-09-06 14:52]

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