Translation scam involving advance payment via Paypal (and later chargeback)
Thread poster: LaGloria

LaGloria  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Jun 14, 2010

I received this notice of a translation scam in via email today from another translation job site. Just wanted to notify all ProZ translators.

Gloria Galindo
Fast Trans Services
Phoenix, AZ
Dear Translators,

You reply to an email offering you some translation jobs for a publishing company in Nigeria. They will tell you that the client is in the US or UK and that client is to pay you directly onto your PAYPAL account (because they only want translators with Paypal). Then you receive the money from a fake client in the US and start working on the text. Then the publisher in Nigeria will ask you to send the difference to him (once you deduct your fees for the translation) via Western Union.

After about 3 weeks, you receive an email from PAYPAL telling that your account is frozen because the client did not receive the goods (i.e. the translation). Obviously the guy in the US is in touch with the one in Nigeria. Since PAYPAL automatically reimburse clients without checking anything, you get in the red on your PAYPAL account because they send the money back to the client in the US. Then you loose your money and you get collection agencies harassing you to give the money back;

BIG SCAM. I would not have worried had I not known about PAYPAL policy consisting of paying back the client no matter what. I told them the guy did receive the translation but they replied that services are not covered by their insurance, only goods.

Thanks for letting other translators know to all the translators because people in Nigeria use different names to attract translators.

Best Regards.

Nathalie Mongel
Traductrice anglais/français
Translator English/French
Skype: mongel.natalie

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-06-15 03:18 GMT]


Kjersti Farrier  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:59
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
Thank you for the information! Jun 14, 2010

I strongly encourage sharing of this type of information.


Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 00:59
Romanian to English
+ ...
Thank you, Jun 15, 2010

very useful !


Suzette Martin-Johnson
French to English
+ ...
Thanks Gloria! Jun 15, 2010

People will do anything to make a buck.


gdesai  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:29
German to English
Emails from Nigeria Jun 15, 2010

Most of these scam mails that relate to Nigeria (never mind where they originate from) are so atrocious in their sentence structure that you smell fishy right away.
Anyway, I do not touch any email from Nigeria, not even with a pair of tongs!


Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:59
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Wiki page started on this subject Jun 15, 2010

A Wiki articles was started on the issue of Detecting and reacting to false job offers and other scams.

You are welcome and encouraged to add to this article to create a resource that will help translators in this subject area.

Kind regards,


marantz  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
German to French
+ ...
What about advance payments from an outsourcer listed on ProZ? Sep 27, 2010

I don't know if it will ring a bell with any of you. Circa two months ago, a large job was posted on behalf of a US company apparently perfectly reputable, which implied writing a short test piece paid by Paypal upon receipt and leading to a translation order to be paid at the moment the order would be placed. I sent the test, receipt of which was not acknowledged, and I never heard from them again nor was paid.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some remarks on payment methods Sep 27, 2010

Some payment methods are final. For instance, after you've withdrawn cash received sent via Western Union or Moneygram, it's a closed deal. Bear in mind that these systems take just a few minutes before the money is available at the receiver's country bank. There is no way to reverse them, unless the payer sues the receiver in the latter one's country. The point is that the payee is not required to have an account at their local bank. So once they have cash and are out on the street, it's theirs.

Other payment methods leave room for cancellation. One example is Xoom. One agency having a shady reputation, once threatened to have it further blemished, 'paid' me via Xoom, so they had a transaction number to show me. However the money didn't arrive. A phone call to Xoom's CSR revealed that the transaction was cancelled two minutes after it was made. However once the funds hit my bank account, it will be a closed deal, as Xoom doesn't keep funds anywhere, it just processes transfers.

PayPal is different. Keep in mind that it's eBay-based (and owned as well). So what happens on eBay? Let's imagine you buy something there from an unknown firm/individual across the globe, pay via PayPal, and the seller not only withdraws your payment, but also fails to send you the goods. You squeal. If the seller cannot provide them evidence that they shipped you the merchandise, PayPal will charge them back immediately and make you a refund (though this may take a while - they are fast to receive, but slow to pay). If the money is gone, and the seller is a verified user, they'll have a bank account or credit card they authorized PayPal to charge, so they won't be liable for having been an accessory to defraud you. If the PayPal user is not verified (i.e. backed by a CC or bank account), transaction limits are very low, not worth the trouble.

When I used Xoom to transfer PayPal funds to my bank account in Brazil (this doesn't work any longer, PayPal is in Brazil already, doing it directly - slower but cheaper), once I forgot that Xoom charges the fees to the sender, and wiped my PayPal account clean. So PayPal charged the Xoom fee to my MasterCard.

Therefore even after you've withdrawn the money received on PayPal, if your account is verified, they may charge your bank account or credit card, if the buyer (viz. your translation client) states that they didn't receive your services. Of course there is a period (I guess it's two weeks) after which they cannot reverse the transaction any more.


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