Another suspicious enquiry; potential scam?
Thread poster: Tony M

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
Oct 4, 2011

I have been contacted twice by this person; while it might be a legitimate job, the illiterate quality of the EN would seem at odds with the writer's very English sounding name:


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Vous avez reçu un message via ProZ.com.
Auteur: John
[NOTE : l'auteur n'est pas un membre de ProZ.com ou n'était pas identifié lors de l'envoi de ce message.]
Adresse IP de l'auteur: 109.203.157.188
-----------

Hello

I am seeking a french freelance translator,to translate a
document…



After that particularly cryptic initial message, I wrote back asking for more details, and here's the reply I received:


Hello Tony,

How are you doing today?fine i presumed.I ought to have get back to you earlier than this time,it was due to normal circumstances. I will want you to take a look at this project,is it what you capable of doing?.I have a lot of projects at hand,this is one of it and the way you handle it will determine if you would be choose later on for another project.

I will like to know you charges per word? and total cost in Euros? How long will it take to finish the project? The deadline set for it December 15th. What is the country of your current residence?

I will be waiting to hear from you soon,

Regards,
[name of person concealed]


And again, since I wrote back again requesting full ID and contact details, I have not heard anything back from him.

I discovered that the IP address used appears to be a service provider in Spain, while the rs98818@techie.com address is simply that of one of these general e-mail service providers like gmail, hotmail, etc. However, I found it worrying that the only other instances I found of this exact address were a couple of supposed 'job' adverts for 'secret shoppers', which also look suspiciously like a scam; these were advertising on a FR site http://www.radiopetrin.fr/boulangers/offres/1646-offre-d-emploi-92200.html and a CA site http://hamilton.aderk.ca/Secret-Shopper-Wanted-Jobs-Customer_Service/view33994/


[Modifié le 2011-10-05 12:18 GMT]


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:38
German to English
+ ...
Agree. Oct 5, 2011

Hello Tony,

I would be suspicious, too, and probably just delete it, though it isn't quite the usual wording because the inquirer hasn't suggested the typical "advance payment" song and dance yet, which is the normal procedure. However, what always rings my alarm bells is if the inquiry isn't from someone logged into ProZ. There's no good reason for a serious outsourcer not to be logged into ProZ when looking for translators, and every bad reason for them not to be. Since I changed my settings to disable receiving e-mails from visitors who aren't logged in, I haven't had any more of these dubious inquiries. Perhaps I'm missing a valid job here or there, but better than investing time and having to deal with the aggravation of being cheated in the end.

My 2 cents.

Woodstock


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Looks like scam Oct 5, 2011

Personally I would classify this in the "delete and forget" category.

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Non-logged in visitors Oct 5, 2011

Woodstock wrote:

...what always rings my alarm bells is if the inquiry isn't from someone logged into ProZ. There's no good reason for a serious outsourcer not to be logged into ProZ when looking for translators, and every bad reason for them not to be.


While I agree up to a point, I don't know exactly what logging in as an outsourcer involves on ProZ.com (never having had occasion to do it!), but I can imagine it would be one extra step to be accomplished by a harrassed PM; and once s/he's navigated as far as MY profile, I'd rather s/he didn't have to go away again in order to contact me So I continue to accept mails from non-logged in sources, and I have to say, overall I have received more genuine jobs this way than I have from actual ProZ.com outsourcers — and often the more lucrative ones from direct customers!

Apart from the bad English (and there is a noticeable difference beteween simply sloppy writing by a native English speaker and actual non-native errors), what rings the warning bells with me is the use of one of these 'free' e-mail addresses — there was actually a lengthy discussion about this in a forum thread some time ago now, and although there was ultimately no consensus (the users of free services defending their position ferociously!), I have to say that anyone who uses a free e-mail address like Hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc. certainly loses points for professionalism in my book, and in the case of an outsourcer offering me work, rings the loudest warning bells of all. In my 16 years of translation, I have NEVER, EVER received genuine work from ANYone (outsourcer) hiding behind a free address like this.

As a footnote: I myself have several of these free addresses, but do not use them for professional purposes, other than as an emergency back-up when my proper ISPs are unavailable for some reason.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:38
German to Swedish
+ ...
No Oct 5, 2011

He talks about "projects", and sounds like an agency. Then he goes on and on about inquiring about your health in that oleaginous manner, apologizing and explaining. He signs an Anglo name and writes bad English. He can't punctuate. He asks about your country of residence, so he hasn't checked you out at all.

Real business letters are usually brief, correct and to the point, because the people who write them don't have time for anything else (but most do have the brains to punctuate better than a second-grader).


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:38
German to English
+ ...
Another forum post, same scammer? Oct 5, 2011

Nicole Schnell posted something similar on 29 September 2011.

http://www.proz.com/forum/scams/208696-dr_john_and_the_nomad_translator.html#1813961

It appears the fellow must have received some rude remarks about "Dr. John"; he has dropped his title from his introductory e-mail.

Same ISP in Spain.


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
"I will want you to..." Oct 5, 2011

Perhaps it's not very significant, but among all the other problems with Mr. Mackie's English, "I will want you to" stood out for me, for some reason. When I Googled it just now, eight of the first ten (and 15 of the first 20) hits related to scams. Is it pure coincidence, or is this a "scammer phrase"?

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting, Peter Oct 5, 2011

I'm not sure if it's a scammer's phrase, but I know a lot of these people use the same script — or is it always the same person? I guess even that is conceivable.

I imagine there are even scammers scamming the scammers, no doubt offering start up advice and 'scampacks' with document templates, etc.


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