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Scam or not? The text kind of suggests it!
Thread poster: Roman Lutz

Roman Lutz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:36
English to German
+ ...
Apr 6, 2011

Hey there,

I would greatly appreciate it if you folks could help me identify if this sounds like a scam or not.

I have just received this email:

"Hi,
I Came across your profile on freelancersupport.com. I'm the owner of a translation agency in Israel. We are looking to expand our services and offer translation services in German.
I'd like to try your translation services, and since I'm looking for a long term business relationship, you can expect more work from me after this job if it's done well.
I'm have a 3223 words document (in English) that needs to be translated to German. Please let me know if you would like to translate it.
Kind regards,
Joseph B
XXX Translations"

Your answer is appreciated!
Thanks!


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Justas Staniulis  Identity Verified
Seychelles
Local time: 10:36
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Hard to tell Apr 6, 2011

I've received legitimate work offers which looked like that or even worse. I suggest to ask for more information about job, payment, etc. If he offers to pay by check and insists on paying in advance, you will know.

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Halil Ibrahim Tutuncuoglu "Бёcäטsع Լîfe's cômplicåtعd eñøugh"
Turkey
Local time: 09:36
Turkish to English
+ ...
In such cases Apr 6, 2011

If you google the first sentence ("I Came across your profile on freelancersupport.com. " in this case) you can see many links. I googled the foregoing sentence but did not get any other links except yours. So it may not be fake.

Good lucks

İbrahim


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:36
English to Japanese
+ ...
Nope. Sounds legit to me. Apr 6, 2011

As far as I am concerned, I sometimes get this kind of mail starting with the sentence "I came across your profile on xxx." And the contents of the email does not sound fishy at all.

Why don't you just reply to the message and see how this person in Israel responds? If it were a scam, in most cases, they would mention 'paying by cheque' 'disability' 'on behalf on the late deceased John Doe' in their first contact.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:36
Romanian to English
+ ...
Not necessarily a scam Apr 6, 2011

I agree with Justas, legitimate job offers were sent with this phrasing too. Once I had a direct client who contacted me with nothing but his first name, saying he was looking for a long-term cooperation. Indeed, we collaborated for years and he paid my invoices within minutes.
To me the "more work from me after this job if it's done well" part suggests that he might be looking for lower rates, promising a bigger volume in time. Never fall for this argument, apply discounts only after the promised volume materialized:-)

As Justas suggested, ask for more details, perhaps a partial payment in advance using other methods than check. And if he offers to pay by check, just forget about it.


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Ditte Duclert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:36
Member (2011)
English to Danish
+ ...
Sounds legit Apr 6, 2011

It sounds legit to me too. I have been approached like that by people who became great clients, so it's certainly worth writing them an email to at least hear how they react.

If you then suddenly you have to buy a software or something or other to get the work going, then I would start to feel suspicious... but give it a go, what do you have to lose?


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Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:36
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not sure Apr 6, 2011

Joseph B? No last name? Not many Israelites are called Joseph, I think. If it isn't a scam, it won't be a well-paying job either, so no big loss if you let this one go. Then again, like the others said, it can't harm to reply. Don't waste too much time on it, though.

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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:36
German to English
Why does it sound like a scam? Apr 6, 2011

Hello Roman,
I don't really understand what doesn't look right.

Ask for the file and then send an offer (at least price and deadline) and see if it is accepted.

Sincerely,
Michael


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:36
English to Dutch
+ ...
I would ask myself the following question Apr 6, 2011

before making a call on whether it is or isn't a scam attempt: can you browse profiles on freelancersupport.com same as on Proz (including contact details)? If not, that begs the question how Joseph got your email address. I have many profiles on such generic freelancers portals, but usually my contact details are shielded by the portal owner to prevent them losing out on commissions: all communication, work and payments tend to go through the portals so that they can claim their fee from any incoming revenue before passing it on. While I agree with everybody that it sounds pretty legit to me, if freelancersupport.com works in a similar manner as all the other generic portals, I would be cautious, to say the least. You can also do a Who is look-up on the domain name of the Israel-based agency to see how long they are on-line with that site and search Google for information related to that agency: if they are known as a scam, you will find out quickly, and try to get as much verifiable info as you can from Joseph B.

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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds ok so far Apr 6, 2011

In spite of its poor English, I see no reason why you may label it a scam.

Many prospect agencies and clients approach you this way. You should now inquire more about the agency and state your rates and paying terms.

See what follows next and act accordingly.


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Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:36
Danish to English
+ ...
profile visitors Apr 6, 2011

You may be able to ask ProZ staff for temporary access to the 'profile visitors' function so you can verify whether you have had any hits from IPs in Israel recently?

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kchansen
Local time: 08:36
English to Danish
Things you could check Apr 6, 2011

I don't see any red lights in the message you received. You could check the following:

- Does "XXX Translations" have a web page, and does it look reasonably professional?

- Do they have a BB entry, and what is their LWA score?

- Did the mail come from their own domain (e.g., "xxx-translations.il), or was it sent from a gmail or hotmail account?

If all this checks out, follow the advice others gave and reply to him!


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not related Apr 6, 2011

Signe Golly wrote:

You may be able to ask ProZ staff for temporary access to the 'profile visitors' function so you can verify whether you have had any hits from IPs in Israel recently?


What does it have to do with the original question? The client said he found the profile on freelancersupport.com, not proz.com. That search would be irrelevant.


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Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:36
Danish to English
+ ...
"Sorry, sir!" Apr 6, 2011

Walter Landesman wrote:

Signe Golly wrote:

You may be able to ask ProZ staff for temporary access to the 'profile visitors' function so you can verify whether you have had any hits from IPs in Israel recently?


What does it have to do with the original question? The client said he found the profile on freelancersupport.com, not proz.com. That search would be irrelevant.


Sorry, my mistake. The hostility is great, though.

Afterthought: Perhaps, though, if we're trying to make threads useful for more than 5 minutes and just the original asker (e.g. for someone else with a similar problem/question), checking for recent visitors could be a helpful step.

Edited to add afterthought.

[Edited at 2011-04-06 15:36 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Get in touch and check yourself Apr 6, 2011

Does not necessarily look like scam.

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