CHARLSE MARTIN SCAM OR WHAT?
Thread poster: María Florencia Gómez

María Florencia Gómez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 17, 2011

hi everybody. I have been talking with this person, and apparently he was going to send me an 85,000 word project. Instead, I received a lot of money in American Express Travellers Cheques.
He answered me today because I told him that I won't cash them until I receive and finish the translation project. This is what he replied:

How are you doing today. The Fund Raising Committee said you should not worry much and you should go to change the Travellers Check for cash now while waiting for the arrival of the CD. The Fund Raising Committee has confirmed the amount sent to you. Which 50% will go to the CD writer and you will have 50% of the total money with you because after confirming from other translators we come to realize that no translator that get full payment before he/she start any job. And, after completion of your job,your balance 50% will be wired into your account before you release the project CD back to us. And, right now a little adjustment is being made to the script she was writing. And she refuse to release the Project CD unless she have part of her payment. As soon as the payment has been deposit will be available for use then I can relay it to the committee so the writer can speed up the correction and dispatch it to you after receiving her money.

I don't understand the hurry he shows for me to cash the cheques. It's a LOT of money and even though they have no way of tracking me down to get the money back, this is not the way trustworthy agencies work... in an ideal world would somebody pay you so much in advance, ideal and ridiculous.
So, What do you suggest? I told him I won't cash them until I receive the documents... by CD or any means.
Any suggestion and help will be greatly appreciated. Has anyone received any real documents from this people?
Thank you!
Florencia.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:32
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Call American Express Aug 17, 2011

As you have received the checks, you have all the data, i.e. their amounts, numbers etc. Try calling AmEx to ask them if they are good, fake, or LOS.

Location: Argentina
Toll Free: 0800 444 0991
Direct Dial Buenos Aires: 312-1661


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María Florencia Gómez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Amex Aug 17, 2011

Hi José, thank you for your post. I already called Amex and they told me the security marks of the cheques and they seem to be real. I was planning on going to the Bank here in Argentina to verify that they can be cashed out. In any case, I wonder why they send the money before you do anything, What if in time they cancel the project and I already got the money?
Besides, they sent the cheques in an envelope from TOGO with no sender address.
What do you think?


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Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
SCAM SCAM SCAM Aug 17, 2011

Burn'm

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I would consider it a scam Aug 17, 2011

María Florencia Gómez wrote:
[i]Which 50% will go to the CD writer and you will have 50% of the total money... And she [CD writer] refuse to release the Project CD unless she have part of her payment.


In other words, they want you to deposit the cheques, draw the money and then pay the money to the CD writer person, right? I think you'll find that the cheques will turn out to be fake (the bank will happily cash them for you immediately, but will take back the money from your account as soon as they realise the cheques are fake).

The nice thing about traveller's cheques is that you can get your money back if the cheques are lost. So lose the cheques (i.e. write down their serial numbers or make photocopies of them, and then destroy them). Tell the client that you didn't want to risk the cheques getting stolen in the mail, so you'll send him the serial numbers, so he can get the cheques re-issued.

If the client is legitimate, then the client should pay the CD writer person directly -- and not ask you to do it. You can safely assume that any scheme that involves you having to take money from your account and pay it to someone else (unless you have met the person and know that they are a trusted colleague) is a scam, even if you think that they have paid you enough mone to do this.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:32
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Call them again Aug 17, 2011

OK, the cheques are real, however they might have been stolen from some tourist in Togo, who hopefully reported them as such. They would have those check numbers immediately available on their computer system.

Though I cancelled my AmEx card years ago, after I stopped freelancing for them, they are a most organized and efficient company.

The other possibility is that the checks are legit, however the sender is trying to play you for a patsy, to send laundered money to the "author".


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María Florencia Gómez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:32
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still not clear. Aug 17, 2011

I really appreciate all your responses. I already told the "client" I won't cash the cheques and I won't pay anyone. That's not how work should be done. I won't do anything until this whole thing clears up. He doesn't seem reliable and this is fishy.
All I will do is make sure the cheques were not stolen, I will go to the bank and find out. Even if I cashed the cheques, the local bank will have no way of taking the money back because I have no accounts with them. In any case, that would not be ethical from my part. besides, the bank asks for my ID and CUIL number for identification purposes so if these checks have any issue around, I will be attached to them.
Thank you all!!


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Iva Halbauer  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 07:32
Croatian to English
+ ...
dear Maria, be careful! - here is the Article about this same scam posted recently on ProZ.com! Aug 17, 2011

Scams targeting translators: the advance payment scam, and how to get the word out?
Jared | August 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Categories: ProZ.com | URL: http://wp.me/p1gp2T-hM

Earlier this year a few blog posts were made here regarding scams targeting translators; I'll post links to them at the bottom of this post for easy reference. It is interesting to note that these are the T.O. posts with the most views so far, and that among the search terms used by visitors coming to this blog, those which are clearly translators seeking information on possible scams rank highest, daily. I don't know if scams targeting translators are on the rise, but they definitely do not seem to have diminished much.

In the ProZ.com forum dedicated to sharing news on scams I came across one that keeps popping up: the advance payment scam (you can see the thread here). These involve advance payment for a job, usually by check. The translator receives the check, which has been made out for an amount exceeding the amount agreed upon, and is asked to wire the difference back to the "outsourcer". The checks bounce later, or turn out to be false, leaving the translator having performed some free work, out of some money, and in some cases, in trouble with the law (in the cases of forged checks).

Many of us can spot these attempts fairly easily, but it seems clear that there may still be a need to better spread the word or educate colleagues in detecting and reacting to these false job offers.

A group of reference links regarding detecting and responding to a potential scam has been posted in the Scams forum, here (reproduced below). Do you know of other good reference material on the subject that could be added? And just as important, how can this material be spread to colleagues who need it?


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:32
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Of course, it is a scam Aug 18, 2011

You may want to check also this http://tinyurl.com/3uygged to find more info.

Natalia


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