Could this be some type of scam?
Thread poster: Graça Ribeiro

Graça Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apr 12, 2012


This may be 'old stuff' for some of you but it's new to me so any feedback is welcome.

Yesterday I received the following e-mail message (I'm omitting names as per forums rule no. 8):


Would you mind to proofread this text for me untill tomorrow 3 PM CET. ( take it as an unpaid test, since there are only 87 words)

You only need to proofread it ( the highlighted text in red and black). In case I get a positive feedback I will get more work for this client and will be able to pay to the translator.

Please confirm,

Thanks and regards,'

I'm usually available to do unpaid tests (and have recently participated in some group discussions about the matter) but, as I explained to the sender of the message above, I only do it after some type of negotiation with the potential client - and not when someone asks me to do it 'out of the blue'.

The file to be proofread was in Brazilian Portuguese (with which I don't work with) and had only some bits translated. If different bits were sent to different translators/proofreaders, the sender would end up with the whole translation of a rather technical leaflet of around 500 words. For free.

I know it's very naive to ask but can anyone please tell me if this was indeed a scam?

Thanks in advance.
Graça Ribeiro


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Skip it Apr 12, 2012

This looks like a very general email which could have been sent to a pile of people.

Do not do the proofreading until you get a purchase order with full company details, even if its price is 0. You should then verify that the company does exist and can decide whether you are willing to cooperate.

Serious firms have a more lengthy translation selection process, which usually involves getting to know more about you, right? So they probably want their problem solved (proofreading something urgent) and then forget about you.icon_smile.gif


Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
Hebrew to English
Maybe not a scam, but.... Apr 12, 2012's so highly presumptuous and rude that in any case my response to them would be the same as though they were a scammer.I might even be tempted to say:


No, too busy. (take it as a refusal, since there are only three words).

Kind regards

Someone with more sense.

[Edited at 2012-04-12 08:44 GMT]


Tony M
Local time: 02:27
French to English
+ ...
Potential scam seems possible... Apr 12, 2012

I too received a similar request the other day — even the number of words was similar, though the language pair was FR > EN (in fact, now, I'm not even sure of that — they may just have been asking me to proof in EN without mentioning the source language).

The supposed agency was from India, and I just put it down to plain bad business practice, since I couldn't really see in what way it could be a scam — except perhaps, as Tomas has said, to get a load of work done for free.

However, now that this occurrence has arisen, I'm more inclined to think it is perhaps some kind of (relatively) organized scam.


Natalie  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Was is received through Report it! Apr 12, 2012

Hi Graça,

In case you received this through, please be sure to report it to the site staff so this could be checked.

Thank you,


Graça Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thank you everyone! Apr 12, 2012


I had already refused the job when I wrote this post but thanks for the swift reply and for the good advice. It reassured me that I had done the right thingicon_smile.gif


It was good to know I wasn't being oversensitive about the sender's approach. Sense of humour is always welcome (specially when it's also useful: I may keep your reply suggestion for future use...)


Thanks for sharing your experience. It proves that, if not a scam, this is definitely something 'fishy'.

I often feel divided between being to naive and overcautious about these things. Your replies helped me understand I can trust my professional 6th senseicon_wink.gif

Thank you everyone!
Graça Ribeiro


Graça Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:27
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sorry, Natalie, only saw your post now Apr 12, 2012

Thanks for reminding and it's good advice but it didn't come through Proz. Just straight to my e-mail address which could have been obtained through other means, I think.

The disadvantages of being 'outside' in the big world, I guess...


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Could this be some type of scam?

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