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Strange email out of Nigeria (supposedly from translation agency director stranded in Nigeria)
Thread poster: Angela Burt

Angela Burt  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2009

Without trying to sound overly dramatic, I have just received a rather strange email from someone purporting to be the director of a translation agency in the US. I have never worked for this agency, but did receive an email from them about 7 months ago asking for a quote for a project. The company's Blue Board rating is 5. So far so good..

However, in today's email, the company director claims to be stranded in Nigeria, having lost all of his belongings and in desperate need of money to pay an outstanding hotel bill, food and a flight back home, totalling $2000, so if I could be so kind as to wing it to him via Western Union as soon as possible. He promises to pay the money back as soon as he is back in the office.

Does this strike anyone else as just a little strange? Has anyone else received this? Or is it just me being too suspicious of a genuine businessman turning to his loyal family of translators in his hour of need?...

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-19 12:15 GMT]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:06
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Shell out immediately and ask no questions Feb 19, 2009

Funny it's always Nigeria. What is it about that country?

Or perhaps a whipround on Proz. would sort things out. Show some solidarity. What do you think?


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:06
French to English
+ ...
it's not from him Feb 19, 2009

I had a similar (probably identical) message purporting to be from a friend of mine who conducts our local choir. I knew he was not in Nigeria, as I had sung for him the previous evening.

Most likely scenario is that his email account has been hijacked, possibly by some kind of computer virus. Viruses sometimes send messages to the user's whole email address book, and you would be in the address book if he's corresponded with you in the past. I'd delete it if I were you.


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My Hue McGowran  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 05:06
German to English
Be careful! Feb 19, 2009

Oh, goodness, even though I haven't had any such experience myself, if I were you I would be VERY careful about this email. Have you worked for the man before? And even if you have, it is very likely that this is a scam. These emails are quite common, unfortunately often coming from Nigeria or Africa somewhere. A friend of mine was involved in a similar scam.

I would just ignore it. You would probably never see your money again.

Best,

Mý Huê


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:06
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
You're right to be suspicious Feb 19, 2009

Sounds very dodgy indeed. Have you tried googling the text? You might find the exactly same text on some website listing email scams.

If you really, really want to give it the benefit of the doubt, don't reply to the mail, but contact the translation agency directly and check with them - they will probably know the whereabouts of their director. (He might be sitting behind his desk in the US and not be very amused about his name being used for a scam.)

[Edited at 2009-02-19 11:03 GMT]


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Angela Burt  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great idea Mervyn! Feb 19, 2009

I do hate to see an agency director in trouble - I'd gladly sacrifice all I can to help!

That was a joke by the way, I agree with Angela that it's probably not from him, and if it is, well, I suggest he contact his agency to help him out!


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:06
Member
French to English
+ ...
Alert the agency Feb 19, 2009

I would certainly not reply to the email which clearly sounds like a scam, but it might be nice to drop a quick note to the agency to warn them that their email may have been pirated.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mark it as spam and forget it Feb 19, 2009

If it came via Proz.com, mark it as spam so that the Proz.com team know, and forget about it.

If it did not come via Proz.com, simply press that nice key called "Del" in your keyboard... and forget about it.


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:06
English to French
+ ...
Spam Feb 19, 2009

Dear Angela, I have a problem and you must help me.

You must give me all your money, and then I will make you a billionaire like in a fairy tale.

So, you see, that's the principle.

The addresses list of your client has been hacked. It's not from him.


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Raffaella Panigada  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 05:06
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
Scam Feb 19, 2009

Hi Angela,

it's more than strange, it really sounds like your typical Nigerian scam. The only difference is that they are not offering you money but asking for it instead (this crisis must be worse than I thought if even scammers are affected!).
The e-mail account of the translation agency gentleman could very well have been hijacked unbeknownst to him, so you might want to get in touch with someone at the agency forwarding them the message you got. If the boss were indeed stranded in Africa I'm sure they would know (anyone in his right mind would contact the office before chasing after all translators in his database), otherwise (and I think this is the case) they will be grateful for bringing this identity theft to their attention. I certainly would.

Raffaella


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:06
English to German
+ ...
Moving the topic... Feb 19, 2009

...to Safe computing.

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LuciaC
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:06
English to Italian
+ ...
Someone who is stranded so far away from home... Feb 19, 2009

and has access to e-mail, would get in touch with their embassy, family, close friends, close colleagues, not a stranger...

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xxxKhrystene
Australia
Polish to English
+ ...
Hijacked Feb 19, 2009

Seems some spammer has hijacked their email. Just file it away with spam... maybe notify the company.

The company I work for has the same problem. I get spam mail to my work editorial account which is sent from MY work editorial account! Duh!!


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Sushan Harshe
India
Local time: 08:36
English to Hindi
+ ...
Angela you are genius! Feb 19, 2009

Mine is the same case; for last one week I was receiving malicious content for a known contact. I was surprised! I had no alternative to contact the person, so I simply put this contact in ‘spam’. After reading your comments I realized that, this must be the reason why I received those mails.

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athinapt  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:06
English to Greek
+ ...
Scam Feb 19, 2009

I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago. I received an email supposedly from my sister, who was telling me that she had to travel to the UK for business, is in desparate need of 1500 GBP and that she will return the money as soon as she gets home. By the way, I talk to my sister every day on the phone, and she had not mentioned she was going to the UK!!! After I received the email, I called her and told her about it. She said she was aware of the problem, someone else had total control of her email address, they had changed the password, so she had no access to her address and they were sending this email to all her contacts.

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