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Beware of a new "student" scam!
Thread poster: Gudrun Wolfrath

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:01
English to German
+ ...
Sep 21, 2011

"I'm Jessica by name and a student. Well i just want you to know that
my uncle will be responsible for payment since his the only one left
for me as the breadwinner. He will be sending you a Check so kindly
get back to me with your Full name and address so that he can make the
payment to you as soon as possible. Moreso i will be submitting the
assignment in 20days time so i want it to be ready before then.
Looking forward to read back from you.
Jessica. "

"Jessica" addressed me by e-mail asking for a translation of 9 pages. Above you find the end of the conversation.

Gudrun


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Isabell Scherg  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:01
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
@ Gudrun Sep 21, 2011

My student was called Jesse and he wanted to pay in advance for the translation of his thesis....This scam goes around forever!

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Heidi Stone-Schaller  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:01
English to German
+ ...
Damn... I fell for this. Sep 28, 2011

Hi, I had a funny feeling about this but went ahead and had a look at the document, then gave her my quote. She said she was fine with it... here's what she said:

I'm a University student, the attachment is just an assignment given
to me and i must tell you am ok with the Quote.; Well, i just want you
to know that my uncle will be responsible for the payment. He will be
sending you a Check which will only take two working days to get to
you there and i just want to assure you that you won't have any regret
nor problem dealing with me in anyway. He can go ahead in first
sending the payment to you even before getting the service back from
you just for you to be in a safer side. If this is acceptable by you;
you can get back to me with your full name and address so i can make
the payment as soon as possible. Looking forward to read back from you
soon.

After some more back and forth correspondence about this, I finally agreed to have a check sent to me, but said I wouldn't send her the translation until the check cleared and she was OK with that.

A few hours later I get this email:

Hey.. i just got a message from my Uncle Few Minute ago that the check
sent to you was for 2000Euro; he said his secretary made a mistake
about this; instead of the actual amount, she thought my uncle said
2000Euro.Please kindly bear this with me and he also said for the
inconvenience and trust ahead about this that when you cash the Check,
you should take extra 30Euro for this. Don't be worry about this as
you will not have any problem anyway. I will tell you all you need to
do with the Excess money when you cash the Check ok.
He just want to know how trusting you are.We are really sorry for this
and if not for the fact that the check have sent already. You will
receive it in a few days time and kindly keep eye on it ok and let me
know when you have it with you there.
Thanks for the trust and understanding
Jessica.


Obviously this looks like a money-laundering scheme, but what do they get out of it? Considering the 700 euros I quoted for will be lost to them.

Also, the document does not look like an assignment... it's something preposterous about adolescence and STDs. I googled some sentences and came up with an Indian "health advice" website, where the text had obviously been copied from. The only other match was from Proz.com: get this, another translator had been asked to translate the text into Dutch and had posted a section of it as a sample translation on his profile. I contacted him to ask if he ever got paid but haven't heard back from him yet.

I replied to the last email by saying that I would NOT cash the check for 2,000 euros and to tell her uncle to cancel the check. No reaction so far... I don't know what to make of it, but will def. put the translation on hold.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 05:01
SITE STAFF
Scam Sep 28, 2011

This is a classic scam. You can rear about this in the wiki article on Detecting and reacting to false job offers and other scams.

Kind regards,
Enrique


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
Hebrew to English
What they get.... Sep 28, 2011

Heidi Stone-Schaller wrote:
Obviously this looks like a money-laundering scheme, but what do they get out of it? Considering the 700 euros I quoted for will be lost to them.


Well the check is probably fake, so if they got away with and it went through, they'd be 1,300 Euros better off.

If the check wasn't fake, they'd get 1,300 Euros of clean money in exchange for 2000(worthless) Euros.

I don't think it's possible to be in this business for five minutes without being scammed.
Shame.

At least you dodged the bullet there!


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Sarai73  Identity Verified
English to Swedish
+ ...
It's just happened to me too Nov 2, 2011

Yesterday I was contacted by a Laura Barber, mentioned elsewhere on this forum, using the e-mail address of lbarbar02@gmail.com. She sent me the same ''assignment'' mentioned above, about adolescence and sexual development (rather poorly written) and asked for a quote. When I asked her to confirm whether or not she wanted the document translated into Swedish, she omitted a response, but was quick to tell me that I could trust her (why whould you stress this if you were trustworthy?) and that she wanted to OK the quote with her uncle first. She then suggested she'd send a cheque, just as in above examples. I said I'd provide her with half the translation and if we were both happy, then I'd cash the cheque and complete the next half. I had a slightly odd feeling about the whole proposal however, which was further emphasised when this e-mail arrived today:

''I just got a message from my Uncle that the
check sent to you was for 2000Euro. He said his secretary made a
mistake about this; instead of the actual amount, she got him wrong;
thought my uncle said 2000Euro.Please kindly bear this with me and he
also said for the inconvenience and trust ahead about this that when
you cash the Check, you should take extra 20Euro for yourself. You
don't need to worry yourself about this as you will not have any
problem in anyway. I will tell you all you need to do with the Excess
money when you cash the Check or probably for another assignment. I
can wait until you cash it.
He just want to know how trusting you are. We are really sorry for
this and if not for the fact that the check have sent already. I want
you to try and keep eye on it and let me know when you receive it ok.
Thanks for the trust and understanding.
Kind Regards.''

I immediately put the text into Google and found this forum. Knew it was a scam, but thanks to you guys for verifying it! This cheque is going nowhere near me....


[Edited at 2011-11-02 23:56 GMT]


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 10:01
French to English
+ ...
I disagree Nov 3, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

I don't think it's possible to be in this business for five minutes without being scammed.
Shame.

At least you dodged the bullet there!


I don't agree with you there. As long as you make the necessary checks you should be fine.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:01
Hebrew to English
Clarification Nov 3, 2011

Timothy Barton wrote:

Ty Kendall wrote:

I don't think it's possible to be in this business for five minutes without being scammed.
Shame.

At least you dodged the bullet there!


I don't agree with you there. As long as you make the necessary checks you should be fine.


What I meant was that you can't be in the translation business and avoid attempts at being scammed, one way or the other; whether it's Nigerian scammers trying to "overpay" you or dodgy agencies trying not to pay you at all.

Whether you actually do get scammed is another thing. In the latter case of agency scamming, which can happen to even the most well intentioned clued up translator, then no amount of checks can necessarily prevent it.

-The Nigerian type scams are pretty obvious though, and should be easily avoided with only the most basic of checks.


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:01
Member (2004)
English to French
Laura Barbar tried it with me as well Nov 8, 2011

My spider senses were tingling when I got this email today. It sounds pretty much like a scam.

1st email from "client": Am in need of your translation service; I got your page on Proz.com

My reply: Hi Laura, Can you tell me more about your project?

Laura's reply (not edited):
How are you doing today? and thanks for getting back to me.. I'm a University Student, the attachment was an assignment given to me so i want you to view it and let me have your Quote's for the translation service. More so i want it to be ready as soon as possible cos i will
need to submit it in 20days time.
Looking forward to read from you.
-------------
The text had close to 7,000 words.

It sounded so fishy, that I declined politely saying that I could not do her translation assignment, as it would be considered cheating. Plus, I doubt a university student can afford the cost of such a project.


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:01
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Barber's still shaving... Nov 10, 2011

Sarai73 wrote:
Yesterday I was contacted by a Laura Barber, mentioned elsewhere on this forum, using the e-mail address of lbarbar02@gmail.com. She sent me the same ''assignment'' mentioned above, about adolescence and sexual development (rather poorly written) and asked for a quote...


Received it yesterday. Same address. Same text. Will probably not get to know her very generous (and unethical) uncle since I replied that I don't do student assignments. Who knows? Laura may decide to "graduate" by next year... Block the address for memory!

By the way, Laura searched Proz directory and appears amongst my "visitors" (209.73.132.57). So we may all receive her Proz.com mail...


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:01
Member
French to English
+ ...
Have you reported this? Nov 10, 2011

Germaine wrote:

By the way, Laura searched Proz directory and appears amongst my "visitors" (209.73.132.57). So we may all receive her Proz.com mail...


Have you reported this via a support request? As you now have a IP address, perhaps she could be blocked globally... however, I fear there might be a danger of blocking a load of other people too, if this happened to be a general IP address for gmail!


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Agnieszka Rytych-Foster  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:01
Polish to English
+ ...
Similar case Mar 16, 2012

I received an identical "assignment" yesterday. Jessica is now "Shana Putnam"."

"Thanks for getting back to me. My name is Shana Putnam ; a University student, I want you to translate this documents for me. The source language is English and the target language is Polish. The documents are attached for you to review and perhaps get back to me with an estimation [price]. The deadline is 3 weeks, is that possible? Payment will be made through Cashier check or Money Order. Let me know how it goes and please reply to this email for any other question."

And, after my reply:

"Thanks for your quick reply, i think am ok with the Quote and i will be sending you a United State Cashier check which will get to you in 3 to 4 working days. I will surely take care of the bank charges and everything.If this is acceptable by you; do get back to me with your full name and address so i can make the payment as soon as possible.Looking forward to read back from you asap."

Plus the same text about adolescents and STD:

"Adolescence' is the French word derived, from 'adolescere', which means growing up. It is the age group of 10 to 19 years. Since every individual is different and develops in his/her unique way, it is difficult to fix a particular age group. ....." Nearly 7000 words.

I did smell fishy and after reading the posts here I know now for sure that I shouldn't waste any more time on this. Thanks!


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jhdarsee  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:01
Member (2010)
English to Swedish
I also got this scam email. Mar 19, 2012

Yes, she seems to have changed her name to "Shana Putnam" now.

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Débora Ascheman  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Laura Barbar is still in the business Mar 19, 2012

Good thing I decided to look her up before replying to the initial email "I'm in need of your translation service; English to Portuguese. Get back to me asap."

That was this morning and the email address used lbarbar002@yahoo.com.

Thank you all for your posts!!

[Edited at 2012-03-19 18:15 GMT]


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thefastshow
Germany
Local time: 09:01
English to German
+ ...
:)) Mar 19, 2012

hehehe those "clever" Nigerian scammers. Only out to get your bank details !
It's interesting since all those messages have a certain style and aura to it. One can nearly sense it right away.
If you collect and prepare them you will notice certain structures in sentences and a certain way of politeness which gives it away immediately. Can't believe how eager and resourceful those guy are .. fishing in nearly every pond.

What really pisses me off though are agencies which hand out long complete texts as a translation test and then after completion you'll never hear from them ever again, not even a thank you . They most probably use the translation without you knowing. That's shameful ! + there's nothing one can do about .


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