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Warning about Canadian agency requiring notarized IDs
Thread poster: Simone Linke

Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Jan 4, 2011

Here's the situation:

I've been contacted by a site that *seems* legitimate (based in Canada, phone numbers, addresses - everything available; Website looks professional) but whose approach and behavior is now screaming scam, imho.

The company is not listed on the Blue Board. As far as I know, I can't leave a Blue Board entry for a company I have not worked for.

We're not allowed to discuss agencies/outsourcers on the forums.

I've found quite a few things via Google that seem to confirm my suspicion that this is a scam.

So, how can I warn people about it here who might fall prey to this because of the professional look of the Website etc.?

Or, how can I actually gather the opinion of others who might have worked for this particular agency and who might be able to confirm their legitimacy?

[Edit: see my latest post with the details.. I wasn't sure if I could/should just post it when I made this post here]

[Edited at 2011-01-05 10:52 GMT]


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:25
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Create a Blue Board record for the business Jan 5, 2011

If there is no Blue Board record for the business, one should be created so others who have worked for the company can enter their feedback.

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Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Check out this forum Jan 5, 2011

Hi Simone!

I think this forum might help you.

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/188542-banned_outsourcer_operating_on_proz.html


Have a great day!


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still not a solution... Jan 5, 2011

I'm not sure how that other forum post would help me.
This is not the outsourcer in question here.

Also, my problem is that as soon as I mention any names, a forum moderator will delete my post for violation of rule XYZ that doesn't allow us to discuss outsourcers explicitly (a counterproductive rule, imho).


I mean, I can give you this:
The same company has posted jobs all over the Web asking people to post pictures of themselves with their passport (photo clearly visible) in return for a $30 REWARD....



I've created a BlueBoard entry for the sake of it. Though, as we have seen in another recent thread about a Spanish non-payer, people even leave a rating of 5 without actually having been paid, so the BlueBoard isn't really the best place to find out if a company is legitimate.


[Edited to remove the slightest hint that would prevent people from falling for this apparent scam. Just to follow the forum rules.]



[Edited at 2011-01-05 13:13 GMT]


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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:25
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Could this be the same agency? Jan 5, 2011

Hi Simone,

A few days ago there was a thread in the Italian forum about a Canadian agency asking for a "notarized non disclosure agreement" and copies of the ID. Could this be the same agency?
For those of you who speak Italian, here is the link:

http://www.proz.com/forum/italian/188411-accordo_di_non_divulgazione_notarized_per_agenzia.html

Regards,

Livia


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Jan 5, 2011

Yes, indeed. I also received stuff about notarized IDs (but separately from this post with the $30 dollar sign-up process), but I don't speak Italian so I didn't notice this thread.



[Edited at 2011-01-05 09:02 GMT]


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The full story Jan 5, 2011

Ok, after having found that Italian thread and also talking to others who have been contacted by this agency, it seems like it's really a scam.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say the name of the website/agency now though, but here are the details that should allow people to recognize this agency should they get contacted by them:

- The agency claims to be based in Toronto, Canada (they probably really have an office there but that doesn't necessarily mean much.)

- The first contact will probably sound polite and not suspicious. They'll ask you if you're interested in cooperation and request you to fill out their Web form. The Website looks fine - no serious typos, it has a contact form, phone numbers, address, even a log-in system for linguists, etc.

- Once you've submitted your application, they'll get back to you. In my case, it took them about 2 months, but oh well.

- A guy called XXX will tell you that you have been accepted and the next step is you signing their forms. Afterwards, the cooperation could begin.

- These forms include: Contractor Agreement (standard form; doesn't look suspicious), NDA (also standard; nothing suspicious per se), two forms of IDs (passport, utility bill, etc.). At least one of the IDs must contain your photograph. They also want you to have the NDA notarized.


I obviously didn't bother getting anything notarized or submitting any photo IDs. These processes are normally only necessary when we're talking about online casinos or porn sites (keep this in mind!).

But since the Website and the emails at this point didn't sound too suspicious (might be an overzealous new agency), I signed the contract and the NDA and told them that's what they can get and we're all set. I didn't hear back from XXX.

Two weeks later, I suddenly receive a short message via my own Website's contact form. It simply says:
"Hey,
Lets discuss on private messanger my id is yyy@windowslive.com
and yours?

YYY
YYY@gmail.com"

I have no idea who that guy is, so I google him. It turns out, he works for this Canadian agency. Aside from deciding that I will certainly not work for this agency, I get curious and google around further.

This leads me to the post I already quoted before about them wanting to pay you $30 for submitting your photo ID and saying that further translation job details would only be given once you've submitted your ID.

I also find a guy called ZZZ, the head of said agency. As it turns out, this guy is also the CEO of ABC, a website that forces users to fill out surveys in order to access premium content.

And I found reports that this website has apparently stopped paying some clients as promised.

I think at this point we can safely assume that this "translation agency" is a scam as well.

The only thing that I'm still wondering is what the heck they want to achieve. It's a lot of hassle for a simple Nigerian 419.

But think about it:
They want your photo, your signature, some notarized stuff, you must be at least 21 years old...
The CEO is involved in business with "premium" content online...

You know, porn sites always need to have documents showing the consent of their models and that they are old enough etc... I wonder if this "agency" is trying to get your photo/data in order to do a little photoshopping and then use it for such dirty business...

Thoughts anyone?


[Edit: all hints regarding the identity of this scammer removed to obey the forum rules.. obviously, I'm not allowed to post a true warning before I have lost money]

[Edited at 2011-01-05 12:58 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I thought that info regarding probable scams could be freely posted... Jan 5, 2011

...since it seems that this is what has been done in the past, with entire e-mails including the (fictitious) names of the senders and supposed companies they represent.

So I don't understand the sequeamishness here....


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:25
English to German
+ ...
My favorite bit: Jan 6, 2011

"Provide a photo with the opened passport held next to your face, picture must be taken in high resolution."

Uhm, excuse me???


Thanks for this forum thread, Simone!


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:25
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Wow! Some people are REALLY curious! Jan 6, 2011

It's a common thing for me to work yearsssssss with a client without ever meeting. I remember one who I finally met after more than two years: his team was calling me "The Voice"...! Never saw my clients from Toronto in six years.
I would give XXX my driver's licence picture: great definition and even my mother wouldn't be able to recognize me... Indeed, I don't either!


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Warning about Canadian agency requiring notarized IDs

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