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SCAM: Succesful Translators Organization (STO) / Intlangua / FEA / WTACA
Thread poster: Maria Teresa Dominguez

Maria Teresa Dominguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 26, 2012

Dear colleagues:

I recently applied to an Agency located in Australia. I received an email from them that reads as follows:

"To ensure high quality translation, we only accept STO ( Successful Translators Organization) certified Member.

we invite you to visit their website www.sto.eu5.org

Sincerely,

*********
chief executive officer

**********
Australia"

Does anybody know this STO Organization? When I went into their website...it honestly didn't look too legit to me.

Could this be a scam?

Thanks,

Maria Teresa Dominguez

[Edited at 2012-02-26 19:41 GMT]


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:55
Member
French to English
+ ...
Don't know for sure, but... Feb 26, 2012

We recently had another very similar report in this forum about a similar deal, albeit with another 'organisation' — and there the consensus of opinion certainly seemed to be that it must be a scam.

Try and see if you can find it, you may spot some similarities... but I would say, if you have the slightest doubt about this already dubious-sounding business pracitce, steer well clear of it.

Yes, here it is:

http://www.proz.com/forum/scams/217853-fea_wtaca_is_this_a_scam.html

[Modifié le 2012-02-26 19:09 GMT]


 

Maria Teresa Dominguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Tony. Feb 26, 2012

It definitely looks like a scam to me.

I applied to this agency yesterday, so it is fairly new and I am afraid some of our colleagues could fall into it.

Regards,


Maria Teresa


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:55
Member
French to English
+ ...
Report to site staff Feb 26, 2012

You didn't mention whether or not you heard from them, or contacted them, via ProZ.com, but in any case, probably worth submitting a support request to flag up this apparently new scammer — and while you're about it, may I suggest posting a cross-reference link to this thread in the other forum too?

[Modifié le 2012-02-26 20:07 GMT]


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 20:55
Member
French to English
+ ...
Looking at their site... Feb 26, 2012

I notice they list 6 agencies with whom (we are intended to believe) they work.

At random, I decided to check if one of them was listed at ProZ.com, and sure enough, the first one I try is indeed: ALTA Language Service. (http://www.proz.com/profile/44719) I have written to them asking if they can vouch for STO, or even knew that their name has been linked with them.

Apolonica is also listed (http://www.proz.com/profile/36485), but I have not contacted them.

Ditto Enlaso (http://www.proz.com/profile/724127) — and the logo has the same flaw in it that the mini logo on their ProZ.com profile has.

Also STP Nordic (http://www.proz.com/profile/44564)

They do all seem to be agencies that have been around ProZ.com for some time; this might possibly indicate that they are defunct, and hence perfect for use by scammers.

Allied Modlingua, Architipo Servizi, and Lexi-Tech do not seem to be listed at ProZ.com.

I am doubly suspicious, as some of the agency logos used seem to be poor quality, as if they have been enlarged from small logos that might have been copied from an agency's website etc. without their knowledge — one would have thought any reputable company would have gone to the trouble of obtaining a high-quality version of the official logo from their partners.

Even more suspicious, if you go and look at the photos of their team of 'translators', they mostly look much more like 'glamour' photos from a dating website than professional portraits.

And the final nail in the coffin as far as I am concerned is that there are no contact details of any kind to be found for this STO — unthinkable if this was a legitimate organization!

Also not reassuring that they fail to put a date for the copyright on their site, and even at one point spell their own name wrongly!

Also, all the 'recent jobs' listed are dated today (02/26/2012), I find it odd that they should all be on a Sunday, and there should be no earlier ones mentioned at all.

My personal rating would be 100% scam!

If I get a reply, I will make sure I post it here.



[Modifié le 2012-02-26 20:13 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Send them a letter Feb 26, 2012

Send this "STO" people a letter to their postal address, and ask them about your doubts. Their address should be in their website if they are a lawful organisation, right?

 

Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Fishy STO Feb 26, 2012

I did not investigate but I will not beat about the bush...

Yes, it's very very fishy! I can't say openly it's a scam, but I am fully convinced it is one!

Why?

-The name, can you really think of a serious professional organization bearing such a name?!
-The design, utterly amateurish (Look at the header banner and at the slogan - they are images, it's an idiosyncratic feature of rogue websites (including phishing websites) + no cap at the first "a" and a cap at "place"? Lazy kids!)
-The prominent "fees" sections, unthinkable!
-Where is all the info??! A certifiying body with so little info is a clown!
They don't even provide an address! How serious is it for a so-called "international organization"?

And there are many other telltale signs...

Maria, believe us, keep away!

The all-too-often misused expression "I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole" applies more than ever here! Even if they are not "crooks" per se, they are at the very least "not legit", and they will charge you 100-200€ for a worthless piece of paper!


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:55
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Definitely good for a laugh... Feb 26, 2012

But their registered translators include such living and dead luminaries as '"Ralf" Lauren' and 'Mark Anthony'! OK, maybe they've got JLo's ex on their roster rather than the eponymous Roman general resurrected...icon_wink.gif
I certainly got a kick of that of those profiles... want to bet every single one of them is fake?

It's also interesting that the description of their "certification exam" seems to have been cribbed directly from ATA's.









[Edited at 2012-02-27 00:07 GMT]


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 04:55
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
NAATI Feb 26, 2012

Australian agencies are looking for NAATI accredited translators. I have never heard about the organization in question.

 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 15:55
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Red lights - Avoid! Feb 27, 2012

Hi Maria Teresa,

Thanks a lot for sharing this information

The agency's contact address is a PO Box

The organization does not provide a contact address but requires a € 100 admission fee.

You face a requirement to pay in order to gain access to allegues desirable work opportunities.

At this point the risk management evaluation lights a big red alarm indication.

I am issuing an alert through the Translators scam alert center


 

Maria Teresa Dominguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The job was posted on Translatorscafe.com Feb 27, 2012

not on Proz.com, and I already contacted them and warned them.

Thank you all for your answers. We definitely need to help and protect each other from this kind of crooks!


 

Maria Teresa Dominguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I just thought to share Translatorscafe's answer to my complaint: Feb 27, 2012

"Dear Maria,

Thank you very much for your letter.

We blocked his access to TranslatorsCafe.com, deleted his profile and posted job on Feb. 26, 2012. Thank you.

Best regards,

Victoria Zolotkova

TranslatorsCafe.com Support Team"


 

Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
And obviously Feb 27, 2012

The free web address? That is a big hint for me. So you charge 100 EUR for membership but can not be bothered to buy a domain name?

Just read that one of the benefits of membership is the fact that they offer "Hosting and Web site creation with your own domain name." Seriously!

[Editado a las 2012-02-27 06:51 GMT]


 

altalang
United States
Local time: 14:55
English
Thanks for the heads up Feb 27, 2012

Hi there,

Thank you to Tony for sending me a message identifying ALTA as being associated with this company/site. We have contacted them and instructed them to remove our name/logo immediately. We do not/have not ever used this organization to vet our translators or to place jobs. I'm not sure why we are listed as an affiliate (or whatever it is we are meant to be - it doesn't really say, just puts us under a generic list of "agencies"...).

Best regards,

Hannah Lodge
Executive Director
ALTA Language Services, Inc.


 

Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 20:55
Member (2009)
Italian to English
Copied profiles Feb 27, 2012

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

But their registered translators include such living and dead luminaries as '"Ralf" Lauren' and 'Mark Anthony'! OK, maybe they've got JLo's ex on their roster rather than the eponymous Roman general resurrected...icon_wink.gif
I certainly got a kick of that of those profiles... want to bet every single one of them is fake?


[Edited at 2012-02-27 00:07 GMT]


Googling the text in the profiles of these "registered translators" always leads back to profiles of completely different translators on TC.


 
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SCAM: Succesful Translators Organization (STO) / Intlangua / FEA / WTACA

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