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Translation job with 50% advance payment (check) and more than a month to translate: is this a scam?
Thread poster: cicconella

cicconella
Local time: 14:45
Aug 9, 2011

"Dear,

Serious and compitent translator is urgently needed for a translation of an article from English to Italian. The document has about 11,670 words and the translated document will be needed on or before 23rd of October, 2011. Kindly get back to me your price quote.

Method of payment: Payment will be made twice for the security of bothparties, you will have the 50% advance payment Via a Certified Bank Check as a down payment the moment you confirmed the assignment accepted by you and have the remaining 50% on delivery of the translation.

I would like to confirm your availability for this project, so i can supply you in details on the document to be translated.

Please E-mail me if you will be available to do the Translating job for me"

Good evening, I am a new user and freelance translator. I have been sent this email through my profile page on a translation site, but mistakes and advance payment make me think this is a scam...also the fact that I have been given so much time to translate is suspicious. I saw on your forum and on wikipedia that this kind of scam is quite common among translators. What is your opinion? This lady also accepted the whole price without problem, even if I proposed a discount.
Thank you!

[Edited at 2011-08-09 16:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-08-09 17:42 GMT]


 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
well.... may be... Aug 9, 2011

You may write back to them "I can take your check, but please note that I will not return you the money received by check (if any) under any condition whatsoever - whether you decide to cancel the job later on or if you mistakenly draw the check for a greater amount or under any other condition"

 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:45
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Writing style Aug 9, 2011

My thing with these scam emails is the writing style. The lack of personally addressing the other party, the spelling and spacing mistakes...and the fact that they kept on urging that they are doing the cheque for "safety of both parties"..I just think this smells fishy.

I don't think the one month deadline is all too uncommon. In this case I think you can try to ask them to send you payment as deposit (it's not a small, 500 word assignment after all) and see what they have to say about that.


 

#JuliaC#  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:45
German to Italian
+ ...
Try to... Aug 9, 2011

Ask them information about their company/job position... ask for more details about them..

I think they won't answer, because I think this is a scam.

The delivery deadline seems to me too far from now... and the offer of an advanced payment makes me think of the typical scam scheme...


 

MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 14:45
Italian to German
+ ...
Agency or Privates? This is very important, also for the rate... Aug 9, 2011

Hi,
as always in these cases with a new client: an e-mail contact is sureley not enough. You need to:

- know if this is a private person or an agency contacting you.

My rates for direct clients (including companies) are usually about 3x higher, depending on the possible support I receive from a registered agency which I may offer a fraction of that rate.
Also private persons or little companies must be "trained" in what translation is about; you should never assume in those cases that your client knows about your business. So, YOU must take the lead.

- Obtain exact adresses, names, Project Manager person and reference, phone nr., fax, Website (if any).

You must check out all this data by phoning back: get more details about the job; are you the competent person for it? Ask for an excerb of the project to find it out. Find out why the delivery date is as proposed.

- Blue Board check; Internet check.

Are there any articles in forums or else that mention the company?

- Advance payment is normal with a new client offering a job of that size.

A serious client knows that, so his advance payment offer is not suspect. What's indeed suspect is: Why should an agency give away so a large job to an unknown translator?

So, can you be sure it's not a scam? Without doing the steps above, you can't say and that's why you should always do such checkings. Even if you do all that carefully, the remaining risk is about 3-5% of all new client's job handlings.

Greets,
Mike

[Edited at 2011-08-09 19:43 GMT]


 

Anja Weggel  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:45
Member (2007)
English to German
don't do it Aug 9, 2011

I assume this is a scam. How many trustworthy agencies give out a big job to a complete stranger?
And aside from the question if this is a scam, checks are way to uncertain and I would never accept them from clients I haven't worked with before. They take weeks to verify so you will be done with the translation before you know if the check is valid.


 

MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 14:45
Italian to German
+ ...
I forgot to mention: Aug 9, 2011

Anja Weggel wrote:

(...)
checks are way to uncertain and I would never accept them from clients I haven't worked with before. They take weeks to verify so you will be done with the translation before you know if the check is valid.


I fully agree of course: never any checks with new clients, and certainly not with a first job of that size: Require a wire transfer that you can confirm within hours.

Mike


 

EMANUELA ROTUNNO  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:45
English to Italian
+ ...
same mail Aug 9, 2011

I received the same mail (a private mail from my profile in translation job site). I gave my availability and the lady (a strange name) send me the file and asked me the exact word count and a flat rate for the translation to deliver on 23th October. I answer the information required and asked for material (TM glossary etc) if she had but no mail more.
I don't know what I have to think now.... however no PO no translation!
I looked for the woman on the Web and no result found and the mail has no company name. it is suspiciuos


 

vera_morreale  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:45
English to Italian
+ ...
I have received the same reply Aug 9, 2011

EMANUELA ROTUNNO wrote:

I received the same mail (a private mail from my profile in translation job site). I gave my availability and the lady (a strange name) send me the file and asked me the exact word count and a flat rate for the translation to deliver on 23th October. I answer the information required and asked for material (TM glossary etc) if she had but no mail more.
I don't know what I have to think now.... however no PO no translation!
I looked for the woman on the Web and no result found and the mail has no company name. it is suspiciuos


I have received the same reply...I think it is a scam!!!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
SCAM!!! Aug 9, 2011

"Certified Bank Check". There you have it. They "make a mistake" and send you double the amount, ask you to send them back the difference. You cash the check, which looks OK to the bank, and send the difference to the "customer". A few days later the check bounces because it is false, and... ta-da!!! Scam executed.

Just click Delete and forget about these people!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Don't accept cheques Aug 9, 2011

cicconella wrote:
I have been sent this email through my profile page on a translation site, but mistakes and advance payment make me think this is a scam...also the fact that I have been given so much time to translate is suspicious.


There is nothing suspicious about the advance payment or about the long deadline, but payment by cheque is always a high risk (even if it is not a scam but simply a guy with a low bank balance). The rule that I suggest is that you don't accept cheques at all. Later, when you have a full membership at ProZ.com, you can amend your rule to "no cheques from clients who don't have high Blue Board ratings". Get yourself a PayPal account instead (the transaction costs are lower than for cheques).


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 09:45
SITE STAFF
Translator T.O. post on this, and some reference links for scam detection Aug 9, 2011

Hi all,

I saw this thread today and made a post on the Translator T.O. regarding scams and this kind of scam in particular:

http://blogproz.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/scams-targeting-translators-the-advance-payment-scam-and-how-to-get-the-word-out/

Reference links are included there too. It is probably a topic for a different thread, but new ways of getting the word out to colleagues to help them more easily detect these scams would be appreciated (you can contact me directly through my profile if you have ideas in the meantime). Thanks!

Jared


 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:45
Member (2009)
French to English
It depends... Aug 9, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

cicconella wrote:
I have been sent this email through my profile page on a translation site, but mistakes and advance payment make me think this is a scam...also the fact that I have been given so much time to translate is suspicious.


There is nothing suspicious about the advance payment or about the long deadline, but payment by cheque is always a high risk (even if it is not a scam but simply a guy with a low bank balance). The rule that I suggest is that you don't accept cheques at all. Later, when you have a full membership at ProZ.com, you can amend your rule to "no cheques from clients who don't have high Blue Board ratings". Get yourself a PayPal account instead (the transaction costs are lower than for cheques).


I often see translators from Europe say that "cheques" are expensive, but in the U.S., my cost for a U.S. "check" is $0 and you can't beat that. The next best payment method is PayPal, but that has a whole schedule of fees depending on the currency and method of payment.

For the original poster, this does smell like a scam to me. I would not bother to respond.


 

cicconella
Local time: 14:45
TOPIC STARTER
Now I am sure this is scam Aug 10, 2011

I thank every one of you for your useful answers. Now I am sure this is a scam, seeing as others received my same offer. I am quite relieved because now I can cancel the job (and e-mails) without regrets.

 

Benedetta Monti
Italy
Local time: 14:45
English to Italian
+ ...
I got the same mail yesterday Aug 10, 2011

Hi all,

Yesterday I found exactly the same message in my e-mail Inbox, so I fear that IT'S SCAM!

The first thing I noticed on the e-mail was the offered payment, because some time ago I received a mail from a man from Sweden asking me a big amount of words to translate and offering me half payment in advance by TRAVEL CHEQUES, and this time I was suspicious with this second email.

I don't accept any cheques from people that I don't know or work with, that's my FIRST rule since I have begun freelance translating.


 
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