Banking info request issue
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
English to French
Jul 17

Hi there,

I am ok with giving my banking information to established translation agencies, businesses or organizations, but I was recently contacted for a job (almost 10K words) by someone from a regular gmail account. I found the text to be translated on a legit website, but I still have no idea how that person fits in, their role etc. There's no formal agreement so I haven't started any work yet, but the contact asked me for my bank account #, routing #, bank name and address. I'm always wary of potential scams, so I asked for more information about themselves, the job, the back-end client etc but haven't heard anything back yet.

What do you make of this? Would you (have you?) ever give that type of information to someone contacting you from a non professional email address?

Also - Does anyone use PayPal as an alternate or even main mode of payment instead of wires?

Thank you.

Greg


 

Anthony Teixeira
Japan
Local time: 19:42
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
Re: Jul 18

Definitely sounds fishy. Overpayment scam maybe? In any case wait until you can confirm the identity of the person who contacted you.

PayPal is commonly used by translators and is the main payment method for some of us. As for sharing bank account info, apparently it's not entirely safe: https://www.nextadvisor.com/blog/is-it-safe-to-share-bank-account-information/


Tina Vonhof
Alexander Palatash
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:42
German to English
Due diligence Jul 18

Usually I provide my banking information with my invoice unless the potential client provides me with a legitimate purchase order, full contact information as well as a W-9 (if a US-based company) to sign. The PO may be an e-mail, but it must contain all contact information. The expense of a telephone call is negligible compared to the loss of time – or even bank fraud – related to a scam.

There are a number of scam-related information sites as well as a useful section here on Proz.

If you plan to use PayPal to accept payments, expect the fees to be relatively steep, especially if you're accepting foreign payments.

[Edited at 2018-07-18 01:48 GMT]


Angie Garbarino
Valérie Ourset
Tina Vonhof
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Follow your nose Jul 18

I'm not overly worried about sharing my bank details. And I don't find that article very worrying either. Yes, a blank cheque might cause concern, because you're relying on some employee checking the signature. But here in Spain we don't have cheques and I'm always asked for some additional information - a PIN at least - before I can get at my own money. I tell new clients my bank name and country up front if they ask, but I do leave the personal details for the invoice. I also write TBA (to be advised) on agency forms. They just don't need to know at that stage.

I wouldn't call it a scam based only on that, but it's good to be wary. If I get any sense at all of things being a little "odd", I'll dig around doing some checks I don't always do: Googling for client email address and/or name plus the word "scam", checking the address on Google Earth, checking out the company on their country's register of companies, contacting them through their website or profile somewhere (in case of identity theft), etc. It's the only way to stay safe. If I'm still not entirely happy then I usually reject the job. Or I might ask for advance payment. Not by PayPal though as I believe they can ask for - and get - a refund in some cases. I'm happy to use PayPal for clients I trust, as long as there's a good reason for using it (I.e. not eurozone clients) and they pay promptly.


Teresa Borges
John Fossey
Tina Vonhof
 

Trevino Translations
France
Local time: 11:42
French to English
+ ...
Banking info Jul 19

Hi, Gregory,

Like you, I am wary about giving out any banking info to just anyone. Please be sure to research the client as much as possible, ask for a business email, website, and look for an online business/professional presence (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). I always require a signed quote (by snail mail, if possible) and an initial payment upfront (between 25 and 50%) when I take on a new client.


 

Anna Sandstrom
United States
Local time: 05:42
French to English
Banking info / passport number Jul 19

I'm also being asked to provide my bank name, account number, and also my passport number. This company is an Asia subsidiary of a French organization that seems legit (the French one, that is). I've looked on the Blue Board and the name is there, but no entries yet. I'm new to professional translation. This is a subtitling job. Scam? I've done quite a lot of digging online and the only red flags are the bank and passport info request. Help?

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
French to English
Banking info, passport number Jul 20

In France, it is common to send an IBAN to a client. I provide it with the invoice when I work with a client for the first time. When working with a client outside the Eurozone, I try to work out the cost of receiving a bank transfer. When the cost of receiving the payment is out of proportion to the value of the job, I refuse the job. I only accept payment by cheque for small amounts or from clients I know.

I would never provide my passport number, except to relevant authorities. I do not consider a client overseas as a relevant authority.


Cetacea
Jennifer Forbes
Teresa Borges
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
French to English
@Gregory Jul 20

An overseas client contacting you for the first time with a potential job of a decent volume and who uses a Gmail address is enough to require making significant checks. Extra checks are necessary. The client has not contacted you since; it may be fishy indeed.

 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
follow up Jul 21

Hello all, and thank you for the input. It's smelling fishier and fishier to me. The person took a week to email me back, and that's twice now (out of 3 emails) that they are emailing me on a Saturday, which seems weird. I asked for more information about the job's intended audience, format requested for the translated doc, and the person herself (who she is, her role in the process etc). I only got clarifications about the first two. About the job, she is saying that the translation will not be published and will be used for a seminar for farmers (the topic is agriculture). Huh? Sounds bizarre. Sounds even more bizarre knowing that I found the same source text she sent me, word for word, on a website that I won't post here.


She said nothing about herself and asked me to get back to her asap with baking info. I am going to contact the site and see if indeed they have anything to do with this.

To be continued...


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:42
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I would stop right there Jul 21

Unless she provides fully identifiable information (company name, address, phone number, website, her full name and position) I would not do anything further. No reputable company would have employees emailing from a gmail address. Seminars for farmers are not conducted by individuals, there must be a company involved (if not the direct manufacturer, then a distributor or a consultant).
If she provides a company name and address, you could check on Google Maps if the company is really there. If she gives you a company website, you could check the legitimacy of that (domain owner, etc.), and if it still passes, you could call the main phone number listed on that website and ask for the person who she says she is.
Providing your banking info is risky, you could get caught up in some money-laundering scheme and that could hurt your own credit on top of the legal hassles.


Alexander Palatash
 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
agreed Jul 21

That's my intention. Since my last post, I determine that the text is a mix of the webpage I mentioned as well as a wiki article, all word for word. For what it's worth, I emailed the website most of the text is lifted, and they also have a gmail address. The whole thing still smells fishy, though. I asked if they are involved, and I emailed the contact asking again about her involvement and who she is.

Until then I'm not sending anything. I would only send banking info at the time of my invoicing anyway.


 


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