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Fraud warning - money laundering attempted by fake online bookstore
Thread poster: urst

urst  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:16
German to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 10, 2008

Dear colleagues,

please be informed that a certain "company" which is currently advertising jobs for translators, illustrators, layouters and speakers (for audio books) all over the internet job forums does so in order to get hold of your bank account information and eventually get you to launder money.
They have a sort of professional looking setup (at first) which includes a test translation and, if the applicant is succesful, a labour contract. After a few translations the contact person (no names here) announces the transfer of your first hard earned salary. Due to an unfortunate incident, however, the amount is much higher than you'd expect and you will be asked to send the excedent amount via Western Union (ha!) to some bloke in - in my case - Bulgaria. You are asked to do so right away, please. At this time thew succesful applicant should go to the police, of course. It turns out that the money comes from a hacked account somewhere and you would be ill-advised to pay any heed to the subsequent demands and pleas from the contact person to please hurry up with the transfer.

Incidentally, there is an online bookstore based in Helsinki of the same name which has nothing to do with this affair. They are aware of what is going on, but apparently the Finnish police is unable to put a stop to it.

I'll try to make a BlueBoard entry of this with specific information.
FYI,
Urst






[Edited at 2008-03-10 09:37]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-03-10 09:49]

[Edited at 2008-03-10 10:07]


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:16
Italian to English
+ ...
What are you doing about it? Mar 10, 2008

So. Does your post mean you were actually grossly overpaid for your work, and you now have tons of extra money which was actually stolen from the hacked account?

Is there any way you can get the extra cash back to the person it was stolen from? If not, then at least you should give it to a charity or something.

Not wishing to criticise you - on the contrary, thanks for the heads up - it's just that your story has this loose end...


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urst  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:16
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
uh Mar 10, 2008

no, the person in question reported me to the police and so did his bank - alleged money laundering. Quite obviously he got his money back whereas I didn't get my pay (for translations nobody is ever going to read, I expect). My bank account has been suspended because apparently they have tried to access it via a computer virus.

I am still waiting for the police to show up, though.


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:16
Italian to English
+ ...
Oh good grief... Mar 10, 2008

That's damn bad luck. I'm sorry for your troubles...

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
English to German
+ ...
Oh my. Mar 10, 2008

Whenever I think I've heard it all..

I wish you the best of luck and I'm crossing my fingers.
Please keep us posted, Urst.

Best,

Nicole


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blondy
Russian to English
Thank you, Urst! Mar 10, 2008

urst wrote:

Dear colleagues,

please be informed that a certain "company" which is currently advertising jobs for translators, illustrators, layouters and speakers (for audio books) all over the internet job forums does so in order to get hold of your bank account information and eventually get you to launder money.
They have a sort of professional looking setup (at first) which includes a test translation and, if the applicant is succesful, a labour contract. After a few translations the contact person (no names here) announces the transfer of your first hard earned salary. Due to an unfortunate incident, however, the amount is much higher than you'd expect and you will be asked to send the excedent amount via Western Union (ha!) to some bloke in - in my case - Bulgaria. You are asked to do so right away, please. At this time thew succesful applicant should go to the police, of course. It turns out that the money comes from a hacked account somewhere and you would be ill-advised to pay any heed to the subsequent demands and pleas from the contact person to please hurry up with the transfer.

Incidentally, there is an online bookstore based in Helsinki of the same name which has nothing to do with this affair. They are aware of what is going on, but apparently the Finnish police is unable to put a stop to it.

I'll try to make a BlueBoard entry of this with specific information.
FYI,
Urst






[Edited at 2008-03-10 09:37]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-03-10 09:49]

[Edited at 2008-03-10 10:07]


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blondy
Russian to English
Report about the fraud Mar 10, 2008

If you happened to know anything about the fraud, please, contact http://www.sec.gov/

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:16
English to German
+ ...
SEC? Mar 10, 2008

Hi blondy,
blondy wrote:

If you happened to know anything about the fraud, please, contact http://www.sec.gov/

In which way would the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission be involved with this?

Best regards,
Ralf


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Is the "company" based in Brazil? Mar 10, 2008

I just found out the hard way that there is no way to prosecute fraudsters there from Europe..

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:16
English to German
+ ...
Eastern Europe, presumably Mar 11, 2008

Moin Harry,
Urs contacted moderators with the details; presumably, the originators of this scam are located in Eastern Europe. Obviously, there's no way of ascertaining whether details in Whois records etc. are 100% accurate. Also, as we know from past cases, fraudsters are often organised in virtual teams covering several countries or even continents.

Best regards,
Ralf


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urst  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:16
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Russian Federation Mar 11, 2008

I guess it is safe to say they are located in Russia.
The texts I had to translate where, of all things, very sweet African fairy tales and fables. Cracks me up - I was so looking forward to this change in my work routine... now I'll stick to my techie manuals (which are also read only by the chosen few, but that's ok).

Beware of the trickster and happy translating.
Urs


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:16
English to German
+ ...
Now that you mention it.. Mar 11, 2008

Did the offer also include book translations with religious content?

Whew, I didn't answer.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:16
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
oh my... Mar 12, 2008

This is really serious.

But I think even if they transfer the "bonus" amount to you account, you can RETURN that amount back to their banking account (NOT by Western Union) minus the transfer costs you had. If something serious turns up, even police, you can tell just the same - they have made a mistake, I have returned the money.

In any case, I think this "company" shall be made public to all proz members. Well, one thing is expressing one's opinion about some outsourcer, the other is such a serious thing where there is a must to warn other people...


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urst  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:16
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
that had been my idea Mar 12, 2008

but of course they didnt want me to send it back to "them", because that money had come straight out of the account of some poor fellow whose bank account PINs etc. had been "phished". He probably wanted to pay his rent or an electricity bill online and when he hit the SEND-button, his computer crashed and the little bug the "company" had previously placed on his computer changed the amount and recipient (to yours truly).

But I agree with Marius. This isn't about badmouthing or stating how bad this company performs or whether they are late payers. They are engaged in criminal activities on a fairly large scale, I presume, judging from the amount of job offers they have posted all over the web. But even if I cannot make their name or address public here, you don't need a degree in astrophysics to know.

Any interested Translator,Typesetter, Illustrator, Announcer(audio books) who knows what a google is, can find out.

Take care everybody
Urs

@blondy: i can't help wondering whether you are being ironic or not...

[Edited at 2008-03-12 02:21]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:16
English to German
+ ...
Forum vs. Blue Board Mar 12, 2008

Hi Marius,

In any case, I think this "company" shall be made public to all proz members. Well, one thing is expressing one's opinion about some outsourcer, the other is such a serious thing where there is a must to warn other people...

Which is the purpose of this topic, of course - I believe it is more important to identify the modus operandi, particularly as they are likely to use multiple identities.

The problem with naming names is that they are (ab)using the name of another business which, as far as one can tell, is a bona fide business - posting a name in the forum would almost certainly damage their reputation.

Besides, if you need to know specifics, I'm sure Urs will tell you if you contact him.

I have created a Blue Board record; so far, we have not identified any related activity on ProZ.com. Anyone who has had similar contacts should get in touch with a Jobs/BB moderator: if you can forward the message headers, that will help.

Best regards,
Ralf


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