Apparently real agency sender claiming outstanding invoices?
Thread poster: Annamaria Amik

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
Mar 16, 2011

Dear colleagues,

I've received the weirdest e-mail a few minutes ago. I checked the sender's e-mail address (...@aol.com) online and it *seems* to be that of a Spanish language institution from Florida whose founder seems to have published a book, too.

The e-mail was sent to my e-mail address and to another e-mail address which is probably made up using part of my name, but which is clearly not mine. I never had anything to do with any such institutions from the US (my clients are European), and I definitely never used the services of any language institutions or translation agencies ever.
Here's what the e-mail says:

"Anna Maria,

We have called you several times regarding the outstanding invoices (3). Unfortunately, you haven't returned our phone calls. If you have any problems, please let us know, but at least we need to hear from you out of consideration. We hope you can contact us on time since we are preparing everything to send these invoices to collection.

Karen"

I am guessing the sender found my e-mail address and name here.

What do you think? Should I call the real agency among whose contact data I've found the sender's apparent e-mail address?

Thanks in advance,

Annamaria


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 15:11
German to English
+ ...
Yes Mar 16, 2011

do contact them. Either someone is using their ID OR, more importantly for you, there is a mistake somewhere, but once they start collection proceedings it might get expensive for all involved. A quick mail will do no harm!

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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Message not sent through Proz Mar 16, 2011

David Wright wrote:

do contact them. Either someone is using their ID OR, more importantly for you, there is a mistake somewhere, but once they start collection proceedings it might get expensive for all involved. A quick mail will do no harm!


That was my first reaction too.

The message was not sent through proz, and the agency is not listed on the Blue Board. Also, the message was sent to another e-mail address too (besides mine), a yahoo one, which is obviosly a fake one or at least something the sender found online assuming it was mine.

I live in Europe and I am not sure if the sender can prove we've ever had any contact, let alone by phone. And actually, I am trying to avoid contact precisely because I don't want them (if indeed they sent the e-mail) to have proof that I ever contacted them.

I am clueless!

Annamaria


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:11
English to Croatian
+ ...
SCAM! ignore it. Mar 16, 2011

This is scam. They find your email address somewhere and somehow, then send you an invoice trying to confuse you ( to make your question your own sense). And make you question when on Earth did you work with and met this person ( when you never did).

This is a scam, and we should have a separate topic for this and report it each time, because it's happening more and more often. I doubt anyone will fall for this, as it just doesn't make any sense.

Do not reply, that's a very bad idea.

Some of the paraphrased examples of such emails could be:

" Shame on you, we have been waiting for you to pay our invoice for two months! "

And similar lines whose purpose is to confuse you and induce ungrounded nonexisting guilt in you.

[Edited at 2011-03-16 18:39 GMT]


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update - situation getting weirder? Sep 26, 2011

Dear colleagues,

A while ago I reported the below scam (not sent through ProZ). Back then, an apparently real US agency sent me an e-mail (to an address I don't use for business), claiming outstanding debt. But we had never had any contact and there's absolutely no reasonable cause why I as a freelance translator would ever use the services of a Florida-based company.

Now the apparent owner of the company is trying to connect to me on LinkedIn! Isn't this weird? Are they trying to fabricate evidence of contact with me or what?

Any thoughts appreciated.

Annamaria


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:11
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This is the classic... Sep 26, 2011

dry cleaning scam where the scam artist will send a dry cleaning bill (because a waiter allegedly spilled something on their clothes) to 100s of restaurants in the hope that a few will just pay the bill. When done by mail, it is a federal offense. I'm not sure about e-mail.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:11
German to English
Probably a scam somewhere ... Sep 26, 2011

... but by a third party.

Someone may have used your identification to obtain services from that agency. I'm with David Wright -- you need to clear this up with the agency in question. Merely contacting the agency to straighten things out is not proof of wrongdoing, so you have nothing to lose by calling them -- apart from your patience and the price of a phone call.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:11
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ignore them completely! Sep 27, 2011

This is clearly scam. Any legitimate supplier, especially one that operates over the Internet, will have your postal address supplied by you at the time of the purchase and can send you a letter, won't they? There you have the answer!

The more you get involved with these people, the more they will manage to exploit your character. Scammers manage to do that.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:11
French to English
Six months on... Sep 27, 2011

Annamaria Amik wrote:

"We hope you can contact us on time since we are preparing everything to send these invoices to collection.
Karen"



And this is the first new information, is that it? When they were supposedly getting ready to use a debt collection service?
If so, I would just ignore the whole thing. Jeff's probably on the right lines there.

If not, I would in fact be tempted not to ignore it, mainly in case someone is impersonating you and damaging your reputation. I'd ask them a) what phone number they were using to call me those 3 times, and b) for invoice numbers, dates, and the names of the files I had allegedly translated*. The response, or lack of one, will tell you all you need to know.

*Just one of many reasons for detailing such things on your invoices.

That's what I think I would do, anyway. Be happy to hear any reasons why it's not a good idea, discounting, of course, that old-fashioned dial-up nonsense about "replying means you confirm your address". So, any reason apart from that.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some elucidation Sep 27, 2011

@Charlie
I am the alleged client here, so they seem to have rendered some services which their alleged client didn't pay for.

After doing some googling, it seems that the other address they sent their initial e-mail to (with my last name in it) refers to another Florida-based company that has an executive with my first name spelled a bit differently.
The president of the sender company seems to be a local public figure (as checked in the news), so I don't think they are scammers. In their attempt to contact the other company, they probably googled the two names (my first name which was their client's contact person + my last name which was their client's company name), and my bad luck, they found my name.
Well, their problem is not my concern, and I am not supposed to interfere in their chase for the bad payer.

Thanks everyone for the support!

Edited to add: I agree with Tomás, if they are a legitimate supplier, this is not the way to contact their alleged client. They should have at least a postal address and not google up the names and send e-mails to addresses they THINK belong to their client.

Annamaria

[Edited at 2011-09-27 11:11 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:11
French to English
Whoops :-) Sep 27, 2011

Got a bit carried away there! I genuinely thought asking them what phone number they were using to call you was a good idea, and what service you were supposed to be paying for, and then I got all befuddled and confused (and left the thread to get coffee and came back half way and lost my train of thought) and reversed the position without thinking. Sorry about that. Sounds like your analysis is probably a good one. They just contacted everyone they could find that they thought might be the person they wanted. Six months of silence, for you, suggests they found them.

One guess re: LinkedIn is that LinkedIn has suggested you to the other party by virtue of your address being in the other party's email system. LinkedIn often finds people I had forgotten ever existed because we once exchanged 2 emails in 2007, or something. I bet if you email me, LinkedIn will eventually suggest to one of us that we connect to the other (may depend on your settings, I suppose). Although possibly not until 2015.

Anyway, glad it doesn't appear to have caused you any problems, and that's the main thing.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Complicated world we live in Sep 27, 2011

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Got a bit carried away there! I genuinely thought asking them what phone number they were using to call you was a good idea, and what service you were supposed to be paying for


Indeed, it might seem reasonable to try to clarify the issue with them. But these days, you never know what your innocent e-mail might be used for, so I preferred not answering at all.
We'll see what happens next (year, century...).

Annamaria


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
Romanian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Situation clarified: name confusion Sep 28, 2011

Dear colleagues,

apparently not everything that seems scam is actually a scam.
Thanks to a kind colleague here, everything's clear now: it turns out the agency provided services to someone whose name resembles mine, and they were trying to track her down. Now whether it was proper to just send threatening e-mails to everyone with a similar name is another matter...

Thanks everyone for the support!

Annamaria


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