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Thread poster: Jared Tabor
Translators: take care with work offers requiring pre-payment or which sound "too good to be true"

Jared Tabor
Local time: 14:48
SITE STAFF
Jul 19, 2012

A translator scam alert was sent out earlier this morning on the subject, but it may bear repeating here.

As you may already know, you should exercise extreme caution when considering responding to offers of "translation jobs" which require you to pay in order see the jobs, or offers of translation work which sound too good to be true. One entity in particular is currently "advertising" this kind of offer heavily, via email, social networks, and other means, and this has been brought to the site team's attention. In many cases, there may not be any real translation jobs behind the offers, though you are required to pay for access to this information beforehand.

Some possible warning signs that can be seen in the email versions of these offers:

  • The sender's address may be a freemail address, and the sender may not match the person signing the email.

  • Language of the type: "If you speak English and any other language, you can start making money right away!", "No previous experience is needed!", etc.

  • URLs included in the email may be "masked"; that is, they may be covering up the real site you will be taken to. Sometimes this is done for tracking purposes, or to hide who is making the offer.


You can see this and other previous alerts in the scam alert archive: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Translator_scam_alert_reports

If you are not already familiar with it, you can also visit the Translator scam alert center for information about scams targeting language professionals. ProZ.com members can subscribe to instant email alerts when new scams are reported.

http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/about


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You can't say it, Jared, but I can! Jul 19, 2012

My general advice on ANY translation jobs web site - Proz included - is to enroll as a free user, and monitor the demand for your specific offer. Any honest such web site - Proz included - will allow free enrollment and access to jobs, though devoid of some privileges reserved to paying members.

After you have seen that there actually is a constant demand for what you have to offer, only then it will be time to pay, in order to have those privileges.

I spent my first five years or so on Proz - and many other similar sites - as a free user, until I saw that the demand for my language pair there had grown and sustained a worthwhile level. My Proz membership has paid for itself many times already. There is another similar site where the demand for my pair grew for a while, however it didn't hold for more than three months (my cut-point was six months, choose your own), and then dropped, so I didn't opt in.

Conversely, I could name a few sites where the specific demand for certain language pairs (different from mine) is higher than here. So this monitoring process would have led me to become a member there instead, if I worked on those pairs.

However any such site demanding payment before you can make money there is certainly a scam. It's quite easy to put up a web site for translators, invent a whole flock of "fake" jobs to list there, and demand $100 or more from anyone who wants to see that list. When these patsies pay and use the system to apply, they can simply say that the job was already assigned to someone else.

Enrolling for free on all these translation sites is good, as it enhances your visibility on search engines to some extent. However it makes sense to pay only for those that clearly have a stable demand for your services.

Some people say that the best jobs on Proz are not posted publicly, but result from searches and direct contact. However if nobody ever posts such jobs, not even the worst ones, chances are that nobody expects to find translators endowed with your specific skills there, so paying to become a member won't help.

To illustrate, I am a free user in one of these sites that outperforms Proz in demand for specific language pairs. In all 10+ years, I had at most 3 contacts that almost resulted in a job assignment. No actual job, ever. So if I were a paying member there, it would have been money down the drain. Yet I have access to all the jobs posted there, so I can see how little is the demand they have for my skills.

Bottom line is: No matter how desperate you are, spend your money wisely.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 14:48
SITE STAFF
Jared is talking of a different kind of operation Jul 19, 2012

José is talking about the convenience or not of paying membership in a legitimate site for translators, but Jared is pointing to a completely different problem: that of web sites created only to raise money, offering you outlandish opportunities but asking for a payment in order to reach them. You are not able to evaluate if the opportunities are true, and it is most likely that you will find no real translation jobs once you paid.

A similar operation can be found when a "company" offers great jobs but require you to be associated to a translators association you never heard off before, or ask you to have a certain tool that, casually, the "company" offers at a deeply discounted price.

In general terms, when you are required to pay up-front to access future opportunities you should be very concerned. And if the "company" offering these opportunities does not display any verifiable contact information, then all your alarms should be bright red and blinking.

Regards,
Enrique


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Both scams exist, Enrique Jul 19, 2012

You are correct. Both (and many other) scams exist.

While Proz & alikes are an 'investment' for translators, when there is work involved, money should flow to the translator, never from the translator anywhere. One should bear in mind that Proz & alikes themselves are not offering jobs, only mediating contact with people/companies who are, and there is always the free user option.

If a client requested me to pay, say, $10 for postage in order to get the originals to me for translation, I'd drop them like a hot potato. The same applies to any other 'expense', such as memberships, buying specific software, etc.

Only people willing to send $80 to Nigeria, in order to receive those so many million dollars promised should think of paying anything to a prospect (or their affiliates) in order to get jobs from them. Good translation outsourcers, whenever they demand any specific unusual software, they give it for free, and bear the costs.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:48
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
There are no jobs for "Free Users" Jul 20, 2012


José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

You are correct. Both (and many other) scams exist.

While Proz & alikes are an 'investment' for translators, when there is work involved, money should flow to the translator, never from the translator anywhere. One should bear in mind that Proz & alikes themselves are not offering jobs, only mediating contact with people/companies who are, and there is always the free user option.

If a client requested me to pay, say, $10 for postage in order to get the originals to me for translation, I'd drop them like a hot potato. The same applies to any other 'expense', such as memberships, buying specific software, etc.

Only people willing to send $80 to Nigeria, in order to receive those so many million dollars promised should think of paying anything to a prospect (or their affiliates) in order to get jobs from them. Good translation outsourcers, whenever they demand any specific unusual software, they give it for free, and bear the costs.


Though this is probably off the scope of the original posting, I would like to point out that practically a free user of any translation site will not get jobs. Job alerts to free users are usually sent after 12 hours, so the freelancer will already be chosen in most cases, where there is a good many paying members for the language combination.
So in any case one has to pay, but of course Henrique is right, that we should not pay before we can be sure the site will be useful for paying members.


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 19:48
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
There are absolutely jobs for free users Jul 20, 2012

Actually, I got my first client as a freelancer - and one that still provides a great deal of work for me every month - through ProZ well before I ever became a paying member.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
It's simple, really Jul 20, 2012

You only need to remember one thing:

Never provide your postal address or bank details to anyone until you have actually been commissioned for a translation job, and have delivered it.

There's nothing more you need to remember.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Could you explain that, Tom? Jul 20, 2012


Tom in London wrote:

You only need to remember one thing:

Never provide your postal address or bank details to anyone until you have actually been commissioned for a translation job, and have delivered it.

There's nothing more you need to remember.


This may be slightly off-topic on this thread, however it is very pertinent to this forum on scams.

I've seen over and over again - mostly European - people who are scared stiff of having to give away their bank details and street address to suspicious prospects. Maybe it would be worthwhile to explain what can be done with such information.

The reason it is so difficult for me to envision that is how it works in Brazil. Maybe explaining it would clarify my doubts.

In Brazil, each and every check is made of paper with some security features, each bank has their own. Then it is laser-printed, often with additional security features, with the following information: account holder's full name, CPF (tax ID#, somewhat equivalent to the SSN in the US), personal ID#, bank data, bank (name & number), branch (number & address), account number.

All one can do with that information (and it's necessary!) is to deposit/transfer funds to that account. It's impossible to withdraw money with that, as there are many passwords involved in the process. The procedure and the quantity of passwords vary from one bank another.

Many sellers publish this information boldly on their ads in MercadoLivre, the local version / branch of eBay, so buyers can immediately pay for the wares they want.

Hence I - and maybe other translators worldwide - would like to know what damage can be done with such info in European banks or elsewhere.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
That's why.... Jul 20, 2012


José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I've seen over and over again - mostly European - people who are scared stiff of having to give away their bank details and street address to suspicious prospects. Maybe it would be worthwhile to explain what can be done with such information.
(...snip...)
All one can do with that information (....) is to deposit/transfer funds to that account. (...snip...)
Hence I - and maybe other translators worldwide - would like to know what damage can be done with such info in European banks or elsewhere.



We don't want unauthorised payments to be made into our accounts. This is a very well-known way of recycling illegal money.


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Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 19:48
English to Polish
+ ...
I invite unauthorized payments Jul 21, 2012

We invite such payments unless there is too much fuss with them. Pluralis maiestatis is intended.

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jenizaha2002  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:48
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
Absolutely be careful Jul 21, 2012

I'm glad this topic exists.

I am a paying member here; however when I started translating full time I signed up with translatorspub.com but I am not a paying member there.

Two days ago I received an email asking what language I translated to - from. I replied to the lady, and an hour later received an email back with a word attachment (that I did not open).

I was told that I would get 50 % of the payment up front and 50 % upon completion of the translation (mind you, I had not submitted a quote on any price yet).

I was told that the customers paid by credit card only, and the sender wanted to know the following information:

My credit card number and expiration date, the cvv code of the CC.
My bank's name and phone number and my limit on the credit card.
My social security number and my mother's maiden name....

Yeah right! When I replied to her telling her that I didn't give out this type of info to just anyone, that it sounded like fraud to me, and when I asked her if the client would be interested in payments by paypal, I naturally never got an email back!

Be careful out there!


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Josephine bacon
Local time: 18:48
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Translator payment sites Jul 23, 2012

There was one site that was constantly bombarding me with requests to join, I never did and the site appears to have disappeared. On the other hand, there is another site which has been in existence for several years and the only companies advertising jobs are from third-world countries who pay well below the going rate. I am crazy to have wasted three years' subscriptions on this site in the hope that something decent will eventually turn up!

While on the subject of sites and slightly off-topic I thoroughly dislike those agencies who have no loyalty to their translators whatsoever and regularly advertise every job that comes their way on ProZ. I once wasted my time completing one of these silly tests for a translation company, being told I had passed, and then seeing this same company advertising a job in my language combination and specialities on ProZ. I contacted the manager who gave some vague answer. Beware when you see a company that continually advertises jobs for the same language combination on ProZ, they have no loyalty to their translators.


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Mike Hunter
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:48
Member
English to Flemish
+ ...
request scams and agency repeat ads Jul 23, 2012


Josephine bacon wrote:

There was one site that was constantly bombarding me with requests to join, I never did and the site appears to have disappeared. On the other hand, there is another site which has been in existence for several years and the only companies advertising jobs are from third-world countries who pay well below the going rate. I am crazy to have wasted three years' subscriptions on this site in the hope that something decent will eventually turn up!

While on the subject of sites and slightly off-topic I thoroughly dislike those agencies who have no loyalty to their translators whatsoever and regularly advertise every job that comes their way on ProZ. I once wasted my time completing one of these silly tests for a translation company, being told I had passed, and then seeing this same company advertising a job in my language combination and specialities on ProZ. I contacted the manager who gave some vague answer. Beware when you see a company that continually advertises jobs for the same language combination on ProZ, they have no loyalty to their translators.


I too get bombarded with "offers" from some other sites, its particularly annoying in that I am always clear the I'm an agency representative. Why would I be interested in freelance offers? How a site acts is definitely one way of differentiating quality, - lots of spam doesn't make me think well of a site. Quality of job ads also differentiates sites like Proz from some of the rubbish which is out there.

In terms of recruiting freelancers, I don't necessarily agree with Josephine that repeat offers in the same language and specialism shows a lack of loyalty, it may, but there could be other factors, e.g. is your Proz status set as unavailable, is there a very specific specialism required? Some fields like "marketing" or "engineering" can be very broad. As an outsourcer I want to be able to select translators who are best suited to an individual text, and this may require a new translator even in an area of specialism where I have existing translators.


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Translators: take care with work offers requiring pre-payment or which sound "too good to be true"







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