Blue Board for Scammers
Thread poster: MultiPro

MultiPro  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Nov 27, 2011

Greetings to All,

I have been on a long hiatus from this site due to work contracts and a busy lifestyle. My anticipated apologies for not knowing or keeping up with the latest ongoing changes/rules here. I am posting under this category because I *almost* fell prey to a scammer who contacted me directly. As a general practice I never answer to direct requests from (private) individuals. I'm even less inclined to respond to outside clients except for 1 long-time client agency in London, China, Hawaii and 2 in Canada. I'm a very cautious professional and although I did send him/her a contract which he/she did not sign in return… I was just taking a chance.

All the red flags were there: 1) the lack of personal details ("I am a private investor. I work on short time businesses."); 2) not signing my contract or agreeing to it (save for an 'OK to proceed' emailed response; 3) sending me three subsequent emails rather hastily regarding a "payment error by my associate"; 4) instructions to "wait for the process of payment", --which was supposed to be 50% in advance and 50% upon delivery of final work-- but was sent "in full in error"… and 5) new names and new addresses to be sending payment info/money transfer info to: from London where he/she first stated being located, to Istanbul under another name and then

The last straw that caught my eye and made me smell a big transatlantic rat is when he/she wrote that I should wait for "instructions on how to cash the check." I then told my husband "this is NOT a good sign…" So, there I was, 85% done with the work, mightily involved and passionately absorbed in it when I posted a Kudoz question. Lo and behold, a colleague immediately alerted me to tell me that this "text looks strangely familiar" and to be "aware that if offered traveller's cheques in advanced payment - they would be fakes."!!!

Based on this experience, I'd like to suggest if not already in place, that Proz.com implement a mechanism, akin to the agencies BB, in order to detect and report such scammers: a Blue Board for Scammers with their full name and full email address prominently listed and appropriately flagged. I was lucky THANKS to the colleague and my good intuition, but others might not. This post is an alert as well as a suggestion in that regard to improve the functionality of this site and protect ALL its members.

Happy (safe) Translating!

P.S. Moderators, please feel free to repost and cross-post this topic anywhere else it might be useful or you might also deem relevant. Thank you!



[Edited at 2011-11-27 07:22 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:41
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A negative BB might help, but... Nov 30, 2011

there's always the risk of falsely accusing an agency/end client. For this reason ProZ moderators don't allow us to name the scammer with full address.

However, I have been asking for such a BB myself in other posts simply because this would protect all translators.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disagree Nov 30, 2011

MultiPro wrote:
Based on this experience, I'd like to suggest if not already in place, that Proz.com implement a mechanism, akin to the agencies BB, in order to detect and report such scammers: a Blue Board for Scammers with their full name and full email address prominently listed and appropriately flagged.

I completely disagree. Scammers are bound to use false names, and to use other people's genuine names and business addresses in their communications. By creating a BB with the information you get from scammers, you would surely end up harming other people.

What makes sense is to learn to detect scams and protect yourself from them, and for those purposes there is already plenty of information in Proz.com.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:41
English to French
+ ...
agree with Tomas Nov 30, 2011

To prevent being caught by scammers it is much more efficient to know and understand the mechanism of all these scams like up-front paiement with fake travellers checks, no negociation about rates, lack of details, tearjeker stories etc.

The names they use is irrelevant : it is either pure invention or they use another person's identity.


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Britta Niggenaber
Germany
Local time: 03:41
English to German
Agree and disagree... Dec 1, 2011

I agree that we all should be careful and use our common sense instead of wrongly accusing innocent people whose identities have been hijacked by scammers. This would harm their reputation and would be particularly unfair as they, unlike us, are probably not even aware that they are victims of identity theft.

However, it might be helpful to have a list of names scammers use, so if do you get a fishy inquiry you can easily check if this is a known scammer. As long as it is made absolutely clear that these are assumed names which have no connection to real people whatsoever, there should be no problem. It could even be an opportunity for a real person suspecting their identiy was stolen to find out and get evidence for legal action they may want to take.

Moreover, I have noticed that not only do scammers contact us directly, but there often are suspicious job postings on proz as well. I wonder if there is anything that could be done about that.


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MultiPro  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wouldn't THAT board be great? Dec 2, 2011

Thayenga wrote:

there's always the risk of falsely accusing an agency/end client. For this reason ProZ moderators don't allow us to name the scammer with full address.

However, I have been asking for such a BB myself in other posts simply because this would protect all translators.

You know what I would have loved to have had as a paying and contributing member to this site? It’s a single board where the warnings and tactics are posted. If someone using the name of XYZ contacts you regarding a document titled “What is Home Schooling?” for instance or any other example, here is a sample email of his/her tactics.
If such a board existed, I would have consutlted it because I had a hunch. I wouldn’t have wasted hours of my precious time on a bogus job!

Even better yet, I would feel safer to see on the home page along with the advertising banners, a warning banner for scammers:


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MultiPro  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:41
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Where's the harm? Dec 2, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

[I completely disagree. Scammers are bound to use false names, and to use other people's genuine names and business addresses in their communications. By creating a BB with the information you get from scammers, you would surely end up harming other people.


Where's the harm in warning members that scammers are using FALSE NAMES to prey on them? First off we don't know whether that is true. Second, IF they are indeed using aliases, this site and the victim members SHOULD by all means EXPOSE their falsehood.
I'll use a very close analogy to drive my point home.. Let's say Mr. John Wunderscammer contacts a Platinum Member under the alias of Henry Potterer. It just happens that Mr. Potterer is the CEO/COO/Honorary Chair of a worldwide known successful enterprise. Perhaps and --most certainly-- Mr. Potterer is unaware that his name is being attached to and used for such a despicable scheme.

Isn't it in his own interest and for the sakes of his own company, that the imposter and his fake identity be denounced? Isn't this the RIGHT thing to do to inform everyone there's identity theft going rampant in the company so they are aware of it and protected


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