Money Order Cheques=scam?
Thread poster: Alexandre_LED

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
Jan 15, 2014

Hello everybody!

Today, I have got my first "contract" on proZ. I write "contract" between brackets, since the whole sounds a bit dodgy to me. So, I would appreciate to get some help from your own experience.
After a few emails, the client tells me that she is disable and that she would prefer to chose Money Order Cheque as a mean of payment.
I don't want to sound paranoid, but I really can't figure out what's easier about Money Order Cheque? I have now sent her an email to ask her to explain me how she proceeds payment with Money Order Cheque. Is she going to tell me that I need to pay something in her next email? Let's see. Anyway, I haven't started anything, but reading through the documents she sent me (which are amazingly easy, by the way).

Has anyone else had experience with Money Order Cheques before? What can I expect from this way of being paid?
If this client appears to be a scam (who contacted me on proZ!!!), what would you advise me to do next? How to avoid wasting time with such nuisances in the future?

Thank you very much for your help!

___________________________
Right, I have received an email back; she is not asking to pay something back and she wants me to send her an invoiceicon_smile.gif! I guess I can safely start working!

However, I won't mind if you have any piece of advice.

[Modifié le 2014-01-15 18:29 GMT]


 

Diana Collins
United States
Local time: 02:25
English to Spanish
Money Order scams Jan 15, 2014

Hi there,

They will ask you to deposit part of the Money Order(s) and send the rest back to them.
DON'T USE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. Tell her that you will cash it out!

If you can compare the Money Order she sends you with the real ones, you will see that is fake.

If she complains, tell her that your email is monitored by the authorities from your country against the scammers. She will disappear.


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Jan 15, 2014

I'm not even sure what a money order cheque is. A money order is one thing, and a cheque is another. Anything unusual about the proposed method of payment should ring alarm bells.

Maybe you could post one or more of their emails here, with the name blanked out just in case they're genuine. Scammer emails are often instantly recognisable as such.


 

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Money Order not cheque Jan 15, 2014

philgoddard wrote:

I'm not even sure what a money order cheque is. A money order is one thing, and a cheque is another. Anything unusual about the proposed method of payment should ring alarm bells.

Maybe you could post one or more of their emails here, with the name blanked out just in case they're genuine. Scammer emails are often instantly recognisable as such.



Apparently, she meant money order as such. She is not a native speaker of English, so I guess she would use the word "cheque" awkwardly. However, I am feeling much more comfortable since she gave me all the details I need to issue an invoice. I don' think there will be any difficulty with her. At least, she is not a scammer. And well, I trust that she will pay accordingly to what we agreed on.

Thank you for your help!
Don't hesitate to make any further comment!


 

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Identified client Jan 15, 2014

Diana Collins wrote:

Hi there,

They will ask you to deposit part of the Money Order(s) and send the rest back to them.
DON'T USE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. Tell her that you will cash it out!

If you can compare the Money Order she sends you with the real ones, you will see that is fake.

If she complains, tell her that your email is monitored by the authorities from your country against the scammers. She will disappear.


This is exactly the reason why I opened this topic. However, she has just sent me an email in which I could identify her, and where she said how I get paid; she won't have to know anything about my bank account. Basically, I get the money order, bring it to my bank and my account will be credited with the amount. This is more like it!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Still needs more careful checking, IMO Jan 15, 2014

It still rings alarm bells in my head. Can I suggest you look through the Scam Alert page(s) to make sure that it doesn't remind you of anything there: http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/ And you should also go through the relevant articles to find out about Risk Management: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Risk_management I would certainly advise you to check the IP address at the very least.

Unfortunately, the fact that she's disabled rings alarm bells. It's a truly sad world.icon_frown.gif If she's also saying she's in one place yet her IP address shows up as another, then those alarm bells should get deafening.

On the other hand, maybe she's a disabled woman wanting a translation.icon_wink.gif Let's hope so.


 

Alejandro Cavalitto
Local time: 04:25
SITE STAFF
The offer shares some signs of fraudulent offers Jan 15, 2014

Hello,

While it is possible that this is a legitimate offer, payment by check is usually part of advance payment scams, as described on http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/#advance_payment_overpayment_scam . The same goes for an outsourcer claiming an illness or disability. I would advise caution in your dealings with this person. If the check you receive is for more than what your payment should be (3000 EUR, typically), and you are asked to return the difference, do not do so. You will lose whatever money you transfer, since the checks are false.

In any case, you will only know for sure if this is a scam when you receive the payment. If you do not return any excess payment, the only risk you run if you follow through with the translation is not being paid if the offer turns out to be fraudulent.

Note that there is a forum dedicated to scams at http://www.proz.com/forum/946 , and a scam alert center with helpful resources at http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/ . You can find helpful information there, and consult other translators about the subject. If you suspect an offer is fraudulent and would like to report it to site staff, you can do so by submitting a support request from http://www.proz.com/support/

Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any question.

Best regards,
Alejandro


 

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
IP Jan 15, 2014

Thank you for your advice.

I have checked her IP and it's not related to a location. I have checked mine too, and it's not related to any location either!!!
So, I decided to use the good old-fashion telephone, just to give her a ring at the address she sent me. Her physical address and name do appear in the phone book. I have tried to give her ring, it rang, but noone answered. So I left a message.
I think, I have to take the risk taking care of the translation. As long as don't send her money, I don't why she would try to scam for 3 pages of a French text. I could still send her the wrong document first, just to see how she reacts.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:25
French to English
Needs careful thought Jan 15, 2014

"This is exactly the reason why I opened this topic. However, she has just sent me an email in which I could identify her, and where she said how I get paid; she won't have to know anything about my bank account. Basically, I get the money order, bring it to my bank and my account will be credited with the amount. This is more like it! [/quote]"

Have you checked the bank charges related to crediting an overseas money order to your account? (Consider commission if in foreign currency, then exchange rates too).
Are you sure it is possible?
Are you sure it is valid internationally?
Are you sure that it is not only possible to obtain cash?

The easiest and safest means of payment is bank transfer.
However, the nature of the handicap (motor, sensorial) may come into play. Your client may not be able to do internet banking for other reasons and may find payment with a money order of some sort more practical. However, do cost it out.

Form an accounting point of view, this thing about paying the sum in and then part reverting to the client sounds like someone wishing to cash a fraudulent instrument through your account. If the instrument is not honoured, you lose the difference.

It may be genuine, and the tug on the emotions is quite a common feature of fraud (stranded abroad, handicapped, widowed etc) and unfortunately bring prejudice to bear in real situations. Nonetheless, a genuine client tends to use ordinary ways of doing things.

Given the risks, I'd probably turn the job down.

[Edited at 2014-01-15 21:07 GMT]

One other thing you could do is explain that it is the first time someone asks to pay by this method. Explain that you have just started out and that the amount of your invoice has to match the amount of the payment credited to your account (which is the case by the way).

If your client is in France, then the term for the type f money order is written in big letter on the instrument itself. Ask her to provide the name of the payment as it appears on the instrument.
There were some big scams a couple of years ago in and around Tours where I live and a number of private individuals lost large amounts of money. There are as many ways of cheating as there are dishonest individuals. If anything seems out of the ordinary, take no risk. Especially for three pages.

[Edited at 2014-01-15 21:12 GMT]


 

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bank transfer Jan 15, 2014

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

"This is exactly the reason why I opened this topic. However, she has just sent me an email in which I could identify her, and where she said how I get paid; she won't have to know anything about my bank account. Basically, I get the money order, bring it to my bank and my account will be credited with the amount. This is more like it!
"

Have you checked the bank charges related to crediting an overseas money order to your account? (Consider commission if in foreign currency, then exchange rates too).
Are you sure it is possible?
Are you sure it is valid internationally?
Are you sure that it is not only possible to obtain cash?

The easiest and safest means of payment is bank transfer.
However, the nature of the handicap (motor, sensorial) may come into play. Your client may not be able to do internet banking for other reasons and may find payment with a money order of some sort more practical. However, do cost it out.
[/quote]

She is using the same currency as me. Apparently, she won't have an access to the internet. I can always retry to give her some ring tomorrow morning. I think the only way to find out, consist of sending her a fake translation and pretend I have made a mistake afterwards. If she notices I sent her the wrong text, that will at least mean she has opened it. Then I can act naturally and send her the right document. If then, I get a money order with ten times the amount we agreed on, well, bad luck! At least, I will straight-away understand that there is no need taking the pain going to my bank. Thanks to all your pieces of advice, by the wayicon_smile.gif.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why would she report she's disabled? Jan 15, 2014

Any legitimate business person would not need to tell you whether he/she is disabled, Catholic, mixed-race, or a lover of shrimp ravioli. You basically don't care, and they don't care that you don't care. All they would want you to do is do the work in the most professional way, have a look at your work, and pay. All payment methods I can figure out are equally easy (or equally difficult) to handle by a disabled person depending on the disability.

To me, this sounds really fishy. Saying that she's disabled sounds like looking to disarm your best judgment with the easiest method: calling upon your kindness towards fellow humans. Furthermore, mentioning the word "check" sounds like if, even if you assumed you would get a bank transfer... all you will get is a check, the riskiest way of being paid by an unknown customer.

I am not convinced that this is legitimate business. I hope I am wrong!

[Edited at 2014-01-15 22:21 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Have you read this? Jan 15, 2014

www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/262619-taxation_for_freelance_work_in_puerto_rico.html

Another colleague was just scammed by someone who asked for a small translation (like in your case) and made it a point to pay by check. Look at the result yourself!

If you take my advice... do not do the job, even if it is only 3 pages. It looks like it will be wasted time at the very least, or financial/legal trouble later on. If the customer is so keen on paying, issue an exact quotation for the job and ask her to send you a Paypal payment or bank transfer in advance, for the exact sum of the quotation. Do not accept any higher amount (you can reject the funds in Paypal if they are wrong). Upon correct payment, you can deliver your translation along with the invoice.

[Edited at 2014-01-15 22:28 GMT]


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:25
German to English
Quit wasting your time on this Jan 15, 2014

The offer has all the hallmarks of a scam. There are plenty of real jobs available from clearly identifiable sources.

 

Melissa McMahon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 18:25
Member (2006)
French to English
Make sure payment clears before starting Jan 15, 2014

In my (second-hand) experience, the scam associated with money orders/cheques is overpayment: the money order is for much too much and they ask you to refund them the excess amount (or part thereof), but after you do you find the original money order hadn't cleared and you are out by whatever you paid them.

I don't see any danger as long as you make sure the payment has cleared before you start the project - cleared means not just appeared in your account, you need to ask your bank how long it takes to clear the order or cheque, because it can take weeks depending on what kind it is.

I don't see how disability is relevant here: as others have pointed out, any computerised method of payment is surely easier than a money order.

I'd be interested to hear how this turns out - let us know!

Melissa


 

Alexandre_LED  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:25
Member (2013)
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Turned down the contract Jan 16, 2014

Thanks for all your replies.
Since she still isn't answering the phone, I decided to handle another contract.
By subscribing to this website, I thought that this kind of hoax would be hard to encounter. Instead, I still didn't get a single contract on this website, and when I get an answer for a job, I am either too expensive or it's a hoax, as in the current case.
I think scammers are just aware of this and try to make money out of it.
Being a translator nowadays means being under-exploited from all parts. This is the bitter truth.
How do I get to know that I am wasting time when I postulate for a job?
Anyway, I am going to report this scam and wish you all good luck.


 


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Money Order Cheques=scam?

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