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Is this guy what he says he is?
Thread poster: George Trail

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:59
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 2, 2011

I just got an email from someone claiming to be a translator / interpreter and in dire straits. It is worth noting that he had a gmail account, and I don't how I ended up getting it. Anyway, it reads thus:

Subject line: I need your help

Hello Everybody,
How are you doing?
I hope all you are being fine and have a good healthy.
This emergency message
So that please read my message very carefully
My name is Ali I'm Iraqi Interpreter and I was working with the U.S. military in Iraq and I was working translator from English into Arabic languages
Subsequently, the terrorist militias threatened me with death then it was forced me to leave my house and everything in Iraq then I'm decided to flee with my family to Jordan
Here in Jordan we are become a refugees Under UNHCR protection
And because we are refugees so that we can not working in Jordan because the Iraqi refugees can't work in Jordan
Yes, we survived the risk of being killed in Iraq, but we signed in the risk of poverty and hunger in Jordan
I am the sole breadwinner for my family and my father an old man and he need care for always times and we don't have the money for treat it because we are refugeesI beg to you and I appeals you by the name of humanity and the name of human rights that you let me to work with you
I will translate your business from English into Arabic language
Any rate of money you will give me I'm agree
The important thing I can help me father
Please let me work with you and I'll translate everything you want from English into Arabic language and any amount of money you'll give me I'm agree
I will wait your answer
Please answer me
Take care
Ali
Note: I'm attached my CV you can read it

His attached CV is a doc file but I haven't opened it, just in case.


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Farzad Akmali  Identity Verified
Member
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Feeling of frustration in the words! Jul 2, 2011

Hi,

I can feel some sort of frustration in his words. I go for the + answer.

Although I can see his English is not that good, if one can provide him with jobs in the pair mentioned, it's not a bad idea to give him an opportunity.


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#JuliaC#  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:59
German to Italian
+ ...
I think it's a scam Jul 2, 2011

They always begin with " How are you doing?" or "Hope you're fine" and so on.

In most cases they call for pity. In your case, well, it is clear from what he says.

In previous cases, they sent attachments about epidemic problems after the Japan earthquake or also about malaria in Africa.

I know it may also sounds real, but it is the new way scammers try to deceive


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:59
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I think it's a scam Jul 2, 2011

Refugees with official status have basic needs covered.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Looks fishy Jul 2, 2011

Too many explanations. In Spain we always say that a good listener needs just a few words. This email contains too many words for the potential target audience.

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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Member
French to English
+ ...
Unusual request from a scammer Jul 2, 2011

If this is a scam (and I did say "if"), it's the first involving an offer of translation services that I've ever seen. Is he hoping that someone will spontaneously send him a gift of money out of solidarity with a fellow linguist who has fallen on hard times, I wonder? Perhaps, but it seems like rather a long shot, from a scammer's point of view. Maybe he really does just want to work but has invented the refugee story as a kind of "pity play" to tug at people's heart-strings; but then again, if he wants to make you feel sorry for him, why say that he is out of immediate danger now? As a scam, it doesn't entirely "hang together" for me. It's also interesting that on three occasions, he mentions that he works from English into Arabic but not the other way round, though I'm not even sure what to make of that. It seems like a touch that your average scammer wouldn't think of - unless he happens to specialise in conning translators, I suppose!

Either way, assuming you don't need English-Arabic translation services, I see no reason to reply, as you have no work to offer him. It's an interesting one, though! Not your common-or-garden scam scenario.

[Edited at 2011-07-02 21:32 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
French to English
Could be genuine Jul 2, 2011

Most scams start by offering us (the potential victims & translators) money.
This may be money in the form of paid work.
It may be money in the form of a commission for some dodgy currency transaction.
It may be money from a dead relative.
But they always offer us money in the first instance. Scams, after all, are predicated on greed (or at least, a wish for a larger bank balance tomorrow than today) and stupidity (or at least lack of vigilance).

What ultimately happens, of course, is that we get diddly squat and they take money from us (if we're caught in the trap).

This guy is adopting an unusual scammer approach from the word go, by saying straight out he wants your money. He'll work for it, but he wants it. He could be lulling you into a false sense of security, I suppose, but the whole thing is counter-intuitive as a scam. At worst, it's a begging letter, so maybe you'll feel bad about not having any Eng->Arabic work and bung the poor sod a tenner anyway. Unless subsequent details reveal something cunning, e.g. he absolutely insists on being paid by cheque which he will then expertly doctor, I can't see where the scam in this would be.

Altho I'd be happy to listen to theories


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:59
French to English
+ ...
If it's somebody genuine... Jul 3, 2011

Then if they are able to establish an arrangement with you to work for you via privately e-mail, I assume they are also able to sign up "genuinely" to on-line job boards like ProZ.

Re the inquisition regarding the recipient's health: this is definitely a hallmark of a scam e-mail, but I think it is partly so because some coutnries genuinely have a culture of enquiring about health at the start of business letters, for whatever reason.

But I'm not entirely sure that the level of English inspires confidence for the quality of the promised work in any case.

And is US military translation and interpreting procurement really that poor these days? If it is, I shudder to think how many more wars we have to look forward to...


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:59
English to Japanese
+ ...
Mass mailing to the wrong person? Jul 3, 2011

Is this mass mailing?

The first line reads, "Hello, everybody" which I would interpret as the mail is not addressed particularly to you, but to other dozen people.

Cannot say for sure if this is a scam, but like Peter and Charlie mentioned, usually scammers try to make you work for free or deceive you from the beginning, but in this case, this person is asking for work, which in my opinion, he could be the target of being scammed instead.

Personally, I would just ignore this kind of message, or if I really feel sorry for him, I would reply saying that "Sorry, I'm not an agency, and I don't outsource work to other people".


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:59
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
hmmm Jul 3, 2011

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

Is this mass mailing?

The first line reads, "Hello, everybody" which I would interpret as the mail is not addressed particularly to you, but to other dozen people.


yeah, my thoughts. And since you don't have Arabic listed among your working languages , why would you need EN>Arabic translations?
Ewa


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 07:59
English to Czech
+ ...
I'd be careful Jul 3, 2011

Hi George,
I don't think it sounds like a typical scam, but neither do I think it's a typical "Here's my resume" message.

If I wanted to find out more about this guy, I would create an e-mail address on Yahoo or Gmail and reply to him pointing him to ProZ or other translator directories. If he creates a profile here or elsewhere and starts to e-socialise, this person may be legit.

Anyways, I would wait no less than a month or two to see what's happening. There are way too many disasters in his life that he uses to play with your feelings. This raises a big red flag.

[Upraveno: 2011-07-03 09:21 GMT]


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:59
English
+ ...
How would he expect to receive payment? Jul 3, 2011

Just curious. I expect as a refugee, if he is not permitted to work, he probably also would not be permitted to open a bank account? Or receive funds? Without a lot of hassle and red tape at least...

[Edited at 2011-07-03 10:31 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
I don't know... Jul 3, 2011

Recently, which means during the past two weeks, I have been approached with several emails coming from this geographical area, all of them via ProZ.com. Applications for translation work, typesetting, a personal request for help with cover letters, a personal request for advice in regard to server and hard disk storage problems (I don't even know what this man is talking about) - I didn't realize that I was so popular there... ???????

Do I have to see a pattern?


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:59
Member
French to English
+ ...
UNHCR refugees Jul 3, 2011

I'm not sure that the situation for UNHCR-registered Iraqi refugees in Jordan is very good at all, at least according to this (albeit not very up-to-date) article:

"From January 2010 financial assistance may “not be sustainable”, according to UNHCR. A large chunk of the monthly cash handouts go to the most vulnerable families - female-headed households - and these look likely to be cut back sharply, perhaps even completely, depending on funding. UNHCR may no longer distribute certain non-food items such as nappies and sanitary towels."
http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=85144

As for not having a bank account - there's always good old Western Union(!) In a previous job, I met plenty of asylum-seekers who had succeeded in opening bank accounts in the UK despite not being allowed to work. If they can manage it, I don't see why UNHCR-registered refugees in Jordan can't. Although working may be against the rules for him, in all fairness, if I were in the position he claims to be in, I think I'd still rather work illegally than steal or beg if it meant I'd be able to look after an ailing parent. Scammers typically go for large amounts of money (hundreds or thousands of pounds), whereas our man sounds as though he'd be willing to work for an awful lot less! So if it IS a scam, it seems a strange one.


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TargamaT  Identity Verified
Syria
Local time: 08:59
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Scam... Jul 3, 2011

IMHO, this is a scam!

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