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Poll: Have you ever been victim of a scam?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:58
SITE STAFF
Nov 3, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever been victim of a scam?".

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:58
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes Nov 3, 2014

I did a small translation for an agency in Reading, England some years ago and was never paid, and later discovered that this agency was owned by a notorious man from this town who has opened and closed large numbers of translation agencies in his life and usually does not pay translators, and I suppose you could classify this as a scam given that he probably had no intention of paying when he ordered the work from me.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:58
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Nov 3, 2014

But I have been treated badly or unfairly by some unscrupulous companies or agencies. Not exactly 'scams' per se but 'borderline' nevertheless.

I've forgotten how many times I've sworn to myself I'd never be deceived again. Once bitten twice shy for the humpteenth time.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I said "yes" ... Nov 3, 2014

... but I didn't lose any money. I later discovered that many other translators had been approached. I think the person got our names from ProZ.

After listening to a sob story, I agreed to do the translation and charge a slightly lower rate. "She" FedEx-ed me a check in advance for $500 more than the amount I quoted, asking me cash out the difference and send it to "her" "travel agent" to pay her trip to give her speech. The check looked suspicious, so I took it to a bank teller rather than an ATM. Without my prompting, the teller also thought it was suspicious and refused to accept it. It turned out that the account was valid but the check was not.
Fortunately, I hadn't started on the translation. It was a good lesson for me, worth the extra trouble.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 3, 2014

Not really. I once did a "test translation" for a company with a good Blue Book reference - I think they are located in Hungary. They then asked me to do some paid work, but queried the wordcount when it was time to pay.
As result, I no longer do test translations... or agree to work for anyone located too far away for me to go round and physically confront them in similar cases.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
French to English
No, not in relation to translation Nov 3, 2014

I have never been the victim of a translation-related scam, although I receive suspicious emails on a regular basis, I know how to recognize the the telltale signs and those emails go straight to the trash!

Many years ago however, I was the victim of a "check" scam, when I lived in California. I had put my car up for sale, and one evening a very nice young couple came by to test drive it. They brought the car back after the test drive, and said they would be back the following day to buy it. And they came back to pay, but it turned out the check they paid with had been stolen, and I hadn't thought to verify their ID. The check was rejected by my bank, at the time, it was a significant sum of money for me... The name and address they provided on the paperwork turned out to be false as well. The police wasn't very helpful, although they recorded my complaint, they didn't do much.

So I did my own detective work... tracked down the couple who was the victim of the stolen checks... turns out it was a relation of theirs who had stolen the checks. So this information was passed on to the police... I drove all over the town (small community) and eventually found my "stolen" car parked on the street! For some strange reason, I had retained a copy of the key, so I just took my car back) and later successfully sold it again.

The police did eventually track the criminels down, and they were arrested and convicted.

In any case, this experience has definitely made me more wary in general, I always check ID now when selling a car!


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Nov 3, 2014

I used to work with an agency that got swallowed up a few times until eventually becoming part of The Global Translation Conglomerate From Hell (hear me roar, as Katy would say), who promptly asked me to cut my rates because business was slack. I naturally told them to get stuffed, but clearly thousands didn't as they're still around. Apparently they then went on to ask their translators, sorry, vendors, or was that linguists, or maybe language professionals, OK let's just call them mugs, to stump up some kind of profit contribution. What a bunch of scamming *****.

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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks to ProZ.com participants Nov 3, 2014

One of the reasons I am glad I subscribe to ProZ.com is that I learn so much from the translators who take time to contribute their experiences to the forums. I have had several scammers try out various schemes on me, but have always been able to identify them. The Blue Board is a big help as well.

[Edited at 2014-11-03 12:43 GMT]


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:58
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
yes Nov 3, 2014

A few years back I was emailed by a woman and did a translation that would have netted me about 350 euros. She disappeared and I was unable to reach her (in france). First she was on her honeymoon, then she told me the payment was coming. I contacted her via SKYPE and chatted with one of her friends but never her. Finally I did find out that she had committed this scam with other translators. One contacted me (after I posted a review on PROZ) and told me she'd been scammed as well. This woman would pocket the money and then vanish. I made sure others knew about her...that's all i could do.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:58
German to English
+ ...
I voted other Nov 3, 2014

I have a fake cheque for $3,000.05 mailed in prepayment from France - a Toronto Dominion Bank, which doesn't exist in France. I keep it as a souvenir to remind me that this exists. There were warning signs in the query: a document that looked like a student paper with the "student" eager to prepay me. I was not a victim of the scam since I waited for the cheque before starting, and the minute I saw the inflated amount, brought it to the bank where it was declared fake. But I could have been a victim, since I was targeted.

Actually I voted in haste. I was victim of non-payment a decade ago. I never considered it a scam, but given that the gentleman left behind a wake of unpaid translators and undelivered translations, he was "scammy". In a conversation with a colleague yesterday his name came up, because it appears he had also assumed the identity of one translator, while adding the part of the CV of another. Which means besides being a non-payer, the man was also a scam artist.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:58
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No financial loss Nov 3, 2014

At least none worth mentioning here. But I had invested about half a day in a project before the client "changed" his mind and wanted to pay with a US Dollar check, and not as originally agreed in Euros via PayPal.

That was years ago. Lesson learned, also thanks to ProZ. Scammer Alerts!


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MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 10:58
Member (2005)
Italian to German
+ ...
Other... Nov 3, 2014

Attempted scams, yes, a lot. Scams where I did accept a project: No.
I have to say that the excellent information available for the members on proz.com have helped me a lot to avoid scams to a large extend, and IMO only for that aspect it's worth to become a full member.

I have a precise check list for any project that highly reduces scam possibilities.

Mike

[Edited at 2014-11-03 15:34 GMT]


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
English to Italian
yes Nov 3, 2014

yes a couple of times, and the worst was my fault.

I accepted a short job offered here on Proz by a "colleague" who needed help. I did it and before the delivery I asked for the invoice details... no reply.
But I am punctual.. and I sent the translation anyway.. she disappeared... euros 150 lost


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Scammed? Yes, but not for professional reasons Nov 3, 2014

It happened more than a decade ago. For 18 months, a young Australian model corresponded with me and made me believe she was in love with me. She never asked for money or a ticket to America. My own detective work uncovered a 55-year-old invalid woman racked with multiple sclerosis in upstate New York.

I felt totally scammed. Eeeeww!


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yay for Lori Nov 3, 2014

Lori Cirefice wrote:

I have never been the victim of a translation-related scam, although I receive suspicious emails on a regular basis, I know how to recognize the the telltale signs and those emails go straight to the trash!

Many years ago however, I was the victim of a "check" scam, when I lived in California. I had put my car up for sale, and one evening a very nice young couple came by to test drive it. They brought the car back after the test drive, and said they would be back the following day to buy it. And they came back to pay, but it turned out the check they paid with had been stolen, and I hadn't thought to verify their ID. The check was rejected by my bank, at the time, it was a significant sum of money for me... The name and address they provided on the paperwork turned out to be false as well. The police wasn't very helpful, although they recorded my complaint, they didn't do much.

So I did my own detective work... tracked down the couple who was the victim of the stolen checks... turns out it was a relation of theirs who had stolen the checks. So this information was passed on to the police... I drove all over the town (small community) and eventually found my "stolen" car parked on the street! For some strange reason, I had retained a copy of the key, so I just took my car back) and later successfully sold it again.

The police did eventually track the criminels down, and they were arrested and convicted.

In any case, this experience has definitely made me more wary in general, I always check ID now when selling a car!


I could say I was scammed by a father-and-daughter pair in central Florida in 2005, when I was pressed to sell my 2009 Intrepid car. They test drove it and agreed to pay the $4,000 I was asking. The following week, the “daughter” came with cash in hand, but only $3,000. So we drove to my bank, had the cash verified and accepted to turn in the title for $3,000 plus the balance to be paid later.

Short story: I was scammed into underselling my car. At least you got your car back and got the culprits in jail. C'est bon !


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