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Beware of some people
Thread poster: Hepburn

Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:20
English to French
+ ...
Mar 19, 2012

Hi,
I am trying to be discreet about this, since the colleague I wanted to warn is not available on the forum any longer since her message was removed very quickly: she named the "client" whose victim she is.

Now I suppose it is Ok to say that I went on the internet with the name she gave and it is the name of an American actress whom I did not know, but there are nice photos of her.
However, I went down the page or even on to the next page and DID find the same name involved in a dispute with a translator from the "other" website, you know what I mean.

And here is what I read:

"Beware of a woman named A... W...

Hello,
this is just to warn you about a woman called A...W..., e-mail ......... She ows me 500€ and she keeps on telling me excuses from more that one month ago. She first told me she was going to pay by check, when I asked for it a couple of weeks later she answered she was attending a seminar in Greece and that she had already sent the check, which I did not receive ("I don't know what happened, maybe the general strikes..."). I suggested her to pay me though PayPal, as it is a comfortable, reliable and fast method, but she said she could not do it (???). Later on she asked me for my bank data so that she could make a transfer. She said she had talked to her bank and they told her they couldn't make that transfer (????). I spoke to my own bank and they gave me a PDF with the data necessary for international bank transfers, so I send it back to her. Amazingly, her computer wouldn't allow her to open this file, so she asked me plese to write these data in the e-mail itself, as "this would really help", but a couple of weeks later I hadn't received any money yet. I sent her another e-mail stating this and she said she had just sent another check, which I didn't receive. Some days after that she sent me an e-mail asking me for further data. Now I am fed up. It is 500€, not a joke, especially for people who live from this. I have told her I was going to publish what she has done to me in several pages about translations to warn people from her.
I hope she may learn something from this.
Regards,
G...
_________________________________________________________________________

Claudette Hepburn



[Edited at 2012-03-19 13:21 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:20
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lesson Mar 19, 2012

wrote:

I hope she may learn something from this.


Lesson:
Do not work for a direct client (especially an individual) without verified prepayment. If you must work without prepayment, do not work for a direct client (especially an individual) outside your local geographic area.


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Enrique
Local time: 09:20
SITE STAFF
On handling scam information (and risk management) Mar 19, 2012

Claudette Hepburn wrote:

Hi,
I am trying to be discreet about this, since the colleague I wanted to warn is not available on the forum any longer since her message was removed very quickly: she named the "client" whose victim she is.


Hi Claudette,

The original post was hidden because, in accordance with forum rule #8, outsourcers may not be discussed specifically in any thread where they are identified by name, reference, link or other means. In the case of real outsourcers the proper channel to leave a comment on an outsourcer you have worked for is the Blue Board, and in the case of scammers the names used by these criminals are never their own.

When scammers want to steal your work from you they usually impersonate a legitimate outsourcer or otherwise well know name, usually by creating a free email address with some resemblance to the alleged "client".

The proper channel for reporting the identity of a possible scam is by means of a support request. These report are investigated, and if a scam is reasonably suspected, a scam alert is generated in the Translators scam alert center.

When receiving a proposal from a stranger, the first step should always be to ascertain if you trust it to be real, and this includes of course to get enough verified information on the "client" to make sure you are dealing with a real person who is what (s)he claims to be.

Regards,
Enrique


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Enrique
Local time: 09:20
SITE STAFF
On risk management Mar 19, 2012

Thanks Jeff!

Jeff Whittaker wrote:
Do not work for a direct client (especially an individual) without verified prepayment. If you must work without prepayment


I believe that a positive identification of the "client" is the first step to good risk management for translators and interpreters. Prepayment is effective with real clients you can track, but a scammer can send you a check that can be cleared by your bank and be reported as a forgery weeks later.

Jeff Whittaker wrote:do not work for a direct client (especially an individual) outside your local geographic area.


This is a clever risk management consideration: unknown direct client + outside your local geographic area = much higher risk

Regards,
Enrique


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:20
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Another tactic Mar 19, 2012

If at all possible, contact the end client, whether that be your client or whoever is ultimately using and/or publishing your translation, and tell them that, since AW has not paid for the translation, it remains your intellectual property, and therefore any use of it not authorised by you is illegal.
If the end client is not AW this may prompt them to take action against AW and if the end client is AW it's a further threat that may make them pay up, unless of course AW doesn't really exist and it's a scam.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not quite right Mar 19, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:
If at all possible, contact the end client, whether that be your client or whoever is ultimately using and/or publishing your translation, and tell them that, since AW has not paid for the translation, it remains your intellectual property, and therefore any use of it not authorised by you is illegal.

I do not quite agree with this practice. Privacy in business is a must for the translator community. This idea that you can freely contact the end customer whenever you wish is potentially damaging for our profession.

The affected translator should have been more careful and should have asked for a prepayment. In the present situation, contacting the end customer will have worse effects than the lack of payment, since the end customer will think that the translator has no ethics at all.


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 09:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ditto Mar 19, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Simon Bruni wrote:
If at all possible, contact the end client, whether that be your client or whoever is ultimately using and/or publishing your translation, and tell them that, since AW has not paid for the translation, it remains your intellectual property, and therefore any use of it not authorised by you is illegal.

I do not quite agree with this practice. Privacy in business is a must for the translator community. This idea that you can freely contact the end customer whenever you wish is potentially damaging for our profession.

The affected translator should have been more careful and should have asked for a prepayment. In the present situation, contacting the end customer will have worse effects than the lack of payment, since the end customer will think that the translator has no ethics at all.


I agree with Tomas.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:20
Member (2008)
French to English
Due diligence Mar 19, 2012

I suppose at some point in our career we have all had to learn the hard way (i.e., the out-of-pocket way) to do due diligence on who we are doing business with. Who are they? Are they for real? Do they pay? What's my recourse if they don't pay? It tends to be a 500 $€£ lesson but hopefully we learn the lesson and don't have to repeat it. Write it up to the lessons learned account and move on. At least the only real loss is time.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:20
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Unethical? Mar 19, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

This idea that you can freely contact the end customer whenever you wish is potentially damaging for our profession.



I'm not sure why you think I am suggesting that you "freely contact the end customer whenever you wish"; I am suggesting that in the specific situation when the middle man has breached an agreement by failing to pay for the product, the end client should be informed. The end client has effectively bought stolen property and I don't see how informing them of this fact is unethical.


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:20
Hebrew to English
Agree with Simon Mar 19, 2012

Not contacting the end client is just the knee-jerk automatic response (because we're so used to not having to contact them) but there are instances which require it, this is one of them.

Confidentiality is usually there to protect the end client and their interests....(in addition to our own interests naturally).

I think it is also in the client's best interests to be informed about the unethical practices of those they are doing business with and the unethical manner in which they obtained their "product" i.e. the translation. At the very least it will prevent the end client from using this person again (which also runs the risk of dragging their name through the mud if they continue to be associated with such a dodgy middleman/middlewoman/let's be PC....middleperson).

[Edited at 2012-03-19 16:50 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Unethical because... Mar 19, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:
I'm not sure why you think I am suggesting that you "freely contact the end customer whenever you wish"; I am suggesting that in the specific situation when the middle man has breached an agreement by failing to pay for the product, the end client should be informed. The end client has effectively bought stolen property and I don't see how informing them of this fact is unethical.

In my opinion, contacting end customers (even if you never get paid) would be unethical because they did not hire us to do the job: they hired our customers. There is no business relation at all between us and the end customer.

Just imagine I bought a bag of potatoes and the farmer came to me to say that I cannot eat my potatoes because the supermarket company hasn't paid him. A bit ridiculous, right? The same in our case, in my opinion.

Mr. Farmer must learn to manage risks and be cautious in his dealings with customers.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:20
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Translations aren't potatoes Mar 19, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Simon Bruni wrote:
I'm not sure why you think I am suggesting that you "freely contact the end customer whenever you wish"; I am suggesting that in the specific situation when the middle man has breached an agreement by failing to pay for the product, the end client should be informed. The end client has effectively bought stolen property and I don't see how informing them of this fact is unethical.

In my opinion, contacting end customers (even if you never get paid) would be unethical because they did not hire us to do the job: they hired our customers. There is no business relation at all between us and the end customer.

Just imagine I bought a bag of potatoes and the farmer came to me to say that I cannot eat my potatoes because the supermarket company hasn't paid him. A bit ridiculous, right? The same in our case, in my opinion.

Mr. Farmer must learn to manage risks and be cautious in his dealings with customers.


Translations are protected by copyright law. But even under your analogy, if a supermarket is involved in illegal activities, its customers have the right to know.


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matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:20
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Wasting your time... Mar 19, 2012

I would continue to hassle the agency. Keep banging on the door. Use the blue board. Ask (pay)a lawyer to write them a letter, or something similar. Don't actually contemplate legal action, as the amount involved does not warrant it (You will end up out of pocket and lose a lot of working hours, leisure time and sleep).
As for the end client, they outsourced the work to an agency because they didn't want to look for a freelance translator themselves. Perhaps they thought they were getting added value; perhaps they simply couldn't be bothered. In any case they won't give a monkey's about your situation. Companies always have enough problems of their own without worrying about those between a supplier and a third party. I don't see it as an ethical question, just a practical one.


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Enrique
Local time: 09:20
SITE STAFF
Risk management vs. damage control Mar 19, 2012

matt robinson wrote:

I would continue to hassle the agency. Keep banging on the door. Use the blue board. Ask (pay)a lawyer to write them a letter, or something similar. Don't actually contemplate legal action, as the amount involved does not warrant it (You will end up out of pocket and lose a lot of working hours, leisure time and sleep).


Hi Matt,

I am under the impression that the translator in this case failed to properly identify the alleged "client". Getting good and verified contact information of the person offering you a job is risk management. Anything you do after delivery is only damage control.

I will post a summary of this case in the scam alerts center

Regards,
Enrique


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traductorchile  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 09:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
I must agree in part Mar 20, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:

Translations are protected by copyright law. But even under your analogy, if a supermarket is involved in illegal activities, its customers have the right to know.



In fact your translation has a copyright which only is licensed to the buyer when he has payed. Many clients might not be aware of this, and either might they be aware of the legal actions in which they might be involved if they breach copyright. He should be warned that unintentionally he might be doing something illegal.
Here is the confusing world of freelance workers: who is your client? The middleman or the end client? Do you have any responsibility with the end client or just with the middleman? Are your ethics governed only by who pays you or is there a duty above that? What is more important (ethically correct) to fulfill an agreement with a middleman that does something illegal or warn the end client that he might fall into an illegality due to the infringement by the middleman? I believe that if you have exhausted all possible means and given all opportunities for the middleman to act correctly (you aren't the obstacle) not only do you have the right to contact the end client (not to get compensation, but to leave things straight; your own reputation maybe?) but you have the ethical duty to warn him that he has bought something with a limited value, and that if he wants to use it without risk he will need (not that he should) to lift the limitations.


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