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How much money have you lost to scammers?
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:17
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Jul 31

Hi there,

as I have to deal with this from time to time and know that a lot of you have to, too, I'd be interested how much money you have lost so far to scammers and if you were able to get some of the money back in the course of time (and howicon_wink.gif).

What are your strategies for protecting yourself from such losses (I know there is nothing like a guarantuee, but maybe there are ways to keep this at bay to a certain extent)?


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:17
Member (2008)
French to English
Several hundred dollars Jul 31

About ten years ago I fell for a scam - someone who wanted a translation, then disappeared after it was delivered.

I subsequently subscribed to Proz.com for the BlueBoard, Translator's Cafe for the Hall of Fame and Shame and Ted Wozniak's PaymentPractices.com, in order to research new clients before accepting them.

It involves a certain annual cost, but much less, I believe, than I would have lost without the knowledge they provide. Out of the several prospective new clients that come my way each year, I reject probably half of them due to poor payment ratings on these boards.

I should add that I do not accept payments offered by Western Union, travellers cheques, etc. I would rather know something about my clients than accept payment by risky methods from an unknown client.

[Edited at 2018-07-31 15:22 GMT]


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
0 euro Jul 31

Nothing to do with luck.
You must check the email address of the sender.
Is it the right email address of the agency?
- check on the blue board whether the agency is a non-payer
-don't work for individuals
- choose carefully the outsourcers you want to work for. Don't work for
every/anybody!


[Modifié le 2018-07-31 15:43 GMT]

[Modifié le 2018-07-31 15:43 GMT]


Tom in London
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Nothing Jul 31

25 years, lost nothing.

I just use common sense.


Dan Lucas
Christine Andersen
Apolonia Dermit
Teresa Borges
Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
Michele Fauble
Vladimir Filipenko
 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:17
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Jul 31

okay, some lucky ones, others not so.

I always check the BlueBoard and TC's Hall of Fame and Shame and luckily enough I haven't lost a lot of money so far but I know of other who have, and substantial amounts. Common sense is great, but what do you do with a client that always paid you and then suddenly they don't? I mean it can happen to anyone.

Individuals have been among my fastest and most reliable payers.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
I meant unknown individuals Jul 31

Inez Ulrich wrote:

okay, some lucky ones, others not so.

I always check the BlueBoard and TC's Hall of Fame and Shame and luckily enough I haven't lost a lot of money so far but I know of other who have, and substantial amounts. Common sense is great, but what do you do with a client that always paid you and then suddenly they don't? I mean it can happen to anyone.

Individuals have been among my fastest and most reliable payers.


Most of the time, you can't even check the identity of individuals

[Modifié le 2018-07-31 16:09 GMT]


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:17
Member
English to French
Not scammers Jul 31

but 2 bankruptcies:
*3200 euros in 2001 from a Parisian agency paying at 60 DAYS END-OF-MONTH, which I had billed almost every month for more than a year. Nothing recovered after settling the bankruptcy case years later (wages and bank debt first).
*1500 euros in 2010 from a one-man agency I had worked with a few months before. Personal bankruptcy. 1000 euros recovered through legal settlement.

Due diligence, common sense and all that.

Lesson learned: 30 days end-of month maximum.

Philippe


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
depends Jul 31

IF it's about translation, now safely away from frauds I work for direct clients and enjoy many benefits, including advance payment and tips; yet earlier I did waste about $100-worth "free tests" and off-hour jobs, let alone "potential job" losses.

In general, scammers (mostly in China auctions) got some $1000 through my folly and credulity, yet I managed to return about $500 from local tricksters.

My people and colleagues say now they get less phony offers from brutal swindler, but more different marketing ploys such as bait-and-switch, foot-in-the door, door-in-the-face, low-balling, value-adding, up- and cross-selling or Trojan horse tricks, not to mention infamous "discounts" or "almost-not-PEMT".


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not scammers Jul 31

Philippe Etienne wrote:
but 2 bankruptcies:

Me too, both for teaching rather than translating/editing, about €400 each. Sometimes you can't do anything about it. One of the clients went into official receivership which meant I could continue working with them and be absolutely guaranteed future payments. The hope was that if they got back on their feet then they'd pay the invoice they'd defaulted on - as an obligation. But they folded so I got nothing icon_frown.gif . The other was caused by the association's president clearing out the bank account and doing a runner with the cash and her son. She was caught and imprisoned but that didn't do me any good (or her 4-year-old son, I imagine).

True scammers can usually be sniffed out by researching them. Be careful for identity theft though as an email address can be identical to a legitimate outsourcer's except for a single-character change. The ones who prefer not to pay if they can wriggle out of it are not true scammers (just b***s). There's usually some evidence of disgruntled suppliers but you need to read between the lines, e.g. "They need an occasional reminder" can mean 2+ reminders almost every time icon_frown.gif .

I agree that private individuals are often very fast payers. I tend to ask for advance payment first time, but not for subsequent jobs. Fellow freelancers here at ProZ.com are almost always super-quick, although one such did result in me actually refusing payment once icon_eek.gif . She clearly had all sorts of problems and I didn't want to be dragged in so told her to forget the €12.50 she owed me!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
All in all 300 EUR in over 30 years (not scammers) Jul 31

I work mainly with direct clients (EU institutions and international organizations) and translation agencies. I haven’t done work for individuals for a long while. I used to when I worked as a sworn translator in Belgium, but I no longer do. In over 30 years, I had one bankruptcy (a Belgian translation agency I worked for 15 years, fortunately I had been paid the month before they close shop and the amount they owed me was very small), three non-payers (a French translation agency owes me a small amount and claims that I never worked for them; the two others are individuals). I’ve been applying due diligence and common sense. I always turn down a job from a potential client if something sounds fishy: better safe than sorry!

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:17
Member (2008)
French to English
Scammers vs mismanagement Jul 31

Inez Ulrich wrote:

Common sense is great, but what do you do with a client that always paid you and then suddenly they don't?


This kind of client is usually one with poor management practices, who runs into cash flow problems, but I wouldn't normally classify them as scammers. I have had a couple of such clients and send them a reminder monthly, and they have generally paid after awhile (sometimes a long while).


 

Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 00:17
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Not much Jul 31

Around 0.04% of my overall income.

Whenever I mention this figure to anybody who works in sales or as a self-employed, they can hardly believe it. I knew a car mechanic in France who considered "normal" that 5% went unpaid (meaning that he planned his business around this estimation), and when I worked in sales, 3% unpaid across Western Europe was considered acceptable. Kitchen furniture manufacturers+installers in Italy/Spain may very well deal with 10% or so.


 

David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
predictable Jul 31

The companies that went bankrupt lately were among the
worst LSPs on the market and were not quality oriented.
So it was highly predictable that they would go bankrupt.

So far, the translation market has always been growing quite fast
and lots of LSPs are very profitable. Those which went bankrupt
were BB-/C companies paying their translators with peanuts.
No wonder they went bankrupt. There were clear signs on their
BB before they went bankrupt.


Vladimir Filipenko
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Different thing Aug 1

Inez Ulrich wrote:
Common sense is great, but what do you do with a client that always paid you and then suddenly they don't? I mean it can happen to anyone.


But they're not scammers.

I've lost £35 to non-payers in 25 years and that was because it wasn't worth pursuing.

There are normally signs it might happen and things you can do if it does. Again I advise common sense!


 

Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:17
Member
English to German
+ ...
Luckily none Aug 1

[quote]John Fossey wrote:

I subsequently subscribed to Proz.com for the BlueBoard, Translator's Cafe for the Hall of Fame and Shame and Ted Wozniak's PaymentPractices.com, in order to research new clients before accepting them.

But not all companies are registered there. Even not all translation agencies. So you refuse to work for a client simply for not being registered on these sites?


Tom in London
 
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