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A 'translator' cheating another translator & may threaten an agency (STAFF: scam by impersonation)
Thread poster: Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
Jul 14, 2012

Hi Everyone!

This is Meraj Alam from Language Aide. I am in a situation and would like the advice of fellow translators and moderators on Proz on this matter.

A couple of months ago we have advertised regarding a Japanese translation service requirement against which we have received several resumes out of which we finalized one native Japanse translator, Tanaka (surname deliberately not being given here for privacy reason), who has sent his profile as well as link to his profile on another translation portal.

Today, to much of our surprise, we got to know from our client that some translator named Kaori has contacted my client for the payment of exactly the same work which we got done from Tanaka only. Since the client had no knowledge of the translator's name whom we got the work done from, the client has simply told me that let the translator not contact us directly for payment issue since we know you (Language Aide) and we are liable to pay you only (they said the payment of the pending batch is about to be done within a week). The client has forwarded me the mail which Kaori has written to them.

I contacted Kaori and after several mail exchange with her, we concluded that this Tanaka is not a real person but actually a fraudster who is cheating innocent translators by having multiple names and email addresses. We reached on this by observing the following :

1) Tanaka has outsourced the work to another translator without our knowledge and consent.

2) Tanaka has contacted Kaori and other such translators not being as Tanaka but as another person named John Small having separate email and phone no.

3) Tanaka/John has contracted with Kaori to do the work at a rate 3 times higher than what we contracted with Tanaka (how come a person outsource a work at a rate 3 times higher than what he is getting, simply that means he does not have any intention to pay that means any rate is acceptable rate for such fraud person).

4) Tanaka/John has not sent any Purchase Order to Kaori and stopped responding to her mails when Kaori started asking about the status of the payment which led her to contact the end-client directly which she found in some of the documents she translated.

All this led us to think that Tanaka is not a real person and is a fraudster out there to cheat innocent translators.

The bad news is we have already made payment for previous batches to him. However, the good news is that the payment of the last batch which Kaori has done has not been yet paid to Tanaka since the client has delayed the payment (sometimes the delay is good) and therefore we are planning to pay Kaori instead of Tanaka for obvious reasons. However, there is a problem...

As soon as we will inform about all this to Tanaka/John, he will get infuriated, and not only he will start throwing all tantrums (abuse etc.) which we will manage, but also he will threaten to give negative feedback and lowest ratings on our Proz's Blueboard (http://www.proz.com/blueboard/6641) and other such translation portal's feedback collection system.

It is our experience that once the negative remarks and ratings are given, it becomes very difficult to get them removed by convincing the site moderators about the situation due to various reasons.

Therefore, i request the members of the site to suggest what more should be done in this regard, and also request the moderators of the site to please come forward to solve the issue.

I will also ask Kaori to confirm this and write here on this post if possible.

Thanks for reading and your advice!

Meraj Alam,

Language Aide

[Reason for edit : A moderator has contacted me to remove the direct reference of another translation portal due to past abuse]

[Edited at 2012-07-14 17:44 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2012-07-18 17:37 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
IMO a VERY tricky situation Jul 14, 2012

As Tanaka uses John as his alias, you have (shown here) no evidence that Kaori is not yet another of Tanaka's aliases. Maybe he is attempting to collect twice from you and your end-client. Though possible, this would be rather insane, but I've seen more insanity than I think I should in the translation market.

These is also a chance that Kaori is a back-stabbing employee/associate of Tanaka's.

You are definitely in a tight spot, as you never contacted, hence not hired, Kaori directly. If you pay her, you'll still be liable to Tanaka for the full amount.

I can only hope you have Tanaka's signed NDA, and that it adequately covers this situation. However it certainly justifies you withholding payment until Tanaka comes clean. If Kaori can introduce evidence of having been hired by Tanaka, the latter cannot deny he knows her.

BTW, if Tanaka attempts to smear your Blue Board record, before his entry gets published, you'll have a chance to direct the Proz staff to this thread and state your side of the story.


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your reply, Mr. Lamensdorf! Jul 14, 2012

Dear Mr. Lamensdorf!

Thanks for your detailed reply!

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

As Tanaka uses John as his alias, you have (shown here) no evidence that Kaori is not yet another of Tanaka's aliases.


It is unlikely because we were already paid Tanaka for two batches, why he will create all this nuisances which could/will jeopardize to get his payment of the 3rd batch. When everything was already going smooth so far why he will complicate the situation. In simple words, we never said Tanaka that we won't pay you, then why he will create an alias of himself and will contact our client directly for the payment which we were about to give him anyway, and complicate the entire thing?

What you said is possible but very very unlikely.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Maybe he is attempting to collect twice from you and your end-client. Though possible, this would be rather insane, but I've seen more insanity than I think I should in the translation market.


It is indeed insane and funny. When getting payment one time becoming so difficult in today's world until u are too careful in your dealings, one has to be insane and foolish enough to dare to attempts to get paid twice for a single work.

When my client has signed the contract with us only, why in the world they will pay the translator directly and break the deal. As i said before they have informed about this situation to us and told us to refrain the translator not to contact them directly as she has not dealt with them directly.

As you said this will be really insane of someone who will try to collect payment for a single work two times and will create such situation in which he will likely to get not even a single time.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
These is also a chance that Kaori is a back-stabbing employee/associate of Tanaka's.


I forgot to write it in my previous post that in the mail to my client, Kaori has written the exact no. and name of files in the batch which i gave Tanaka to translate. I am also going to ask Kaori to send all the translated files to me in order to check if they indeed match with what sent by Tanaka.

These are enough proofs that Kaori has worked on those files, otherwise she might not known my client and the files. Whether Kaori is a back-stabbing employee/associate of Tanaka's or not does qualify here for anything as long as the translated files sent by Kaori matches with those by Tanaka.

Also, Kaori has forwarded us some of her mail-exchanges with John (Tanaka) which proves that John (Tanaka) has indeed contacted her for her translation services and issued a PO no. and not an actual PO (no address, a non-working phone no., and no website or any like to www).

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
You are definitely in a tight spot, as you never contacted, hence not hired, Kaori directly. If you pay her, you'll still be liable to Tanaka for the full amount.


You are write to the much extent on this... that is why i posted here to seek the advice from the experienced translators like you to guide me so that an innocent translator somewhere in the world does not get unpaid even the client (we) knowing before the payment that the payment would be eventually not going to reach the actual translator.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
I can only hope you have Tanaka's signed NDA, and that it adequately covers this situation. However it certainly justifies you withholding payment until Tanaka comes clean. If Kaori can introduce evidence of having been hired by Tanaka, the latter cannot deny he knows her.


Yes, you are right. We have to see what we can do.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
BTW, if Tanaka attempts to smear your Blue Board record, before his entry gets published, you'll have a chance to direct the Proz staff to this thread and state your side of the story.


Yea, that was also one of the reasons for creating this post so that i can direct a Proz staff when anything such happens.

Once again thanks for the reply.


 

Kaori Kawakami  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:02
Member (2015)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Comments from Kaori Jul 14, 2012

Dear Jose and Meraj,

I am Kaori, mentioned in your comments.

What happened to me this time actually made me think how we can defend ourselves from those frauds. After all, most of us (translators) got projects from agencies located in different countries than our own location. We do not get to see project managers, and vice versa.

As for this John/Tanaka problem, I was really surprised to find that this person who identified himself as a native Japanese, using Tanaka XXX, does not even know a word of Japanese nor the Japanese culture. How do I know? Well, this XXX part (Meraj informed me) also is a typical Japanese surname. So, it is like Smith Goldman. Smith is definitely a surname, right I can assure you that Tanaka can never be a Japanese first name. This person did not even know such a simple thing.

Also, this John/Tanaka told me in his email that his company is located in LA, but when I searched his whereabouts by his email (that can track IP addresses), he was found to be in Munich.

If this guy has a nerve to appear in here, trying to smear the agency and/or me, I would be happy to post all the emails he sent me here so that people would know how he approaches translators. I can prove that I am Kaori with a good translation career to Meraj's agency. I have many references that would recommend/support me (thank God).

Anyway, apart from this John/Tanaka, I have heard from another translator how some agencies just do not pay but give excuses. I think we should have some kind of system, which I actually suggested 3 weeks ago in here:
http://proz.uservoice.com/forums/37172-general/suggestions/2820359-list-up-all-the-scam-translation-companies-around-

I think having an active black list where translators/agencies can post is essential. Then, maybe translators should submit their CV but also some copies of IDs to agencies. I don't know what we can do more!? Please share your opinions.

One thing we should never do is, let the frauds get away with it!!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:02
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ghosts Jul 14, 2012

Meraj,

Now that we know that Kaori is real and on the clear, it's likely that Tanaka/John will vanish in a cloud of orange smoke... eventually to reappear as a possible Helmut/Drusilla somewhere else.

This incident should teach all those who participated in and/or read about it a lesson about due diligence. It's like a once-in-a-lifetime disease, every translator needs it to get immunized. I had mine a few years ago.

I hope you and Kaori can get this sorted out together.


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:02
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Scam by impersonation Jul 18, 2012

This looks very much like a scam by impersonation, aimed to stealing translations as described in the first article in the ProZ.com series on Risk Management: Scammers who steal translations.

In this case my guess is that both the end client and the translator failed to implement the first risk management rule when dealing with a previously unknown business partner:

Rule #1: Get verifiable contact information AND verify it to be sure that the persons contacting you are who they say they are, and that they really represent the company they claim to represent.

I suggest the following steps for the final client:
contact the intermediary demanding verifiable contact information (better late than never)
verify this information to be sure that there is a real person with that name, and that this is the person contacting you.
if the intermediary vanishes then your mystery will be solved. If you get verified information then confront them with this situation and ask for a reasonable explanation.

Regards,
Enrique


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My mail to 'Tanaka Suzuki' and his response Jul 18, 2012

Dear Enrique!

Thanks for your response and suggestion on this matter!

Before i saw your post, i have written the following mail to this 'Tanaka Suzuki' yesterday.

"subject: Urgent!!!

Dear Tanaka Suzuki!

There some severe issues have happened in which i want you to intervene AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

There is a translator named, Kaori Kawakami, has contacted our client directly by writing a long mail and inquired about payment of the same files which we got done from you (she has sent all the files names to the client). This has made my client and my agency owners very infuriated about everything and may the matter get worsen in due course of time. Currently, they are seeking proper and satisfactorily explanation/response from you regarding the following on urgent basis :
Who is Kaori Kawakami? How does she have the possession of all the client's files which we gave ONLY to YOU for translation?
Kaori has confirmed and verified that there is a person named John Small who has given these documents for translation to Kaori. Who is John Small who has given those documents to Kaori? How does these documents reached to John Small?
The translation of all those eleven documents you sent matches exactly with those sent by Kaori Kawakami, which means that you be must knowing John Small and Kaori Kawakami. Who are these people?
We have also found out from our sources that 'Tanaka Suzuki' cannot be a real name because both 'Tanaka' and 'Suzuki' are surnames. Therefore to validate yourself please send a valid photo Id card of yours in which both your photograph and your name are clearly visible. Also the ID card should have an ID no. which should be verifiable on reliable resources.

Your all payments will be on hold until this matter is sorted out. Please note that you failing to give satisfactory responses to all the above questions will not only cancel your all pending payments but also a life time ban from us on doing any commercial activities with you. We may also seek judicial advice on this matter and may also report this case to Delhi Cyber Crime Branch for further investigation and taking proper action on this matter.

Urgently looking for your response.


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, verfication is must... Jul 18, 2012

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

This looks very much like a scam by impersonation, aimed to stealing translations as described in the first article in the ProZ.com series on Risk Management: Scammers who steal translations.

In this case my guess is that both the end client and the translator failed to implement the first risk management rule when dealing with a previously unknown business partner:

Rule #1: Get verifiable contact information AND verify it to be sure that the persons contacting you are who they say they are, and that they really represent the company they claim to represent.

.........

Regards,
Enrique


Dear Enrique!

I have gone through the article you have written and referred in the above post of yours and the article is indeed very informative and would like to thank you for writing such article for translation community's benefits.

However, i think your article is more towards saving linguists from being conned by fake agencies, companies and individual scammers rather than for agencies from being cheated by fake translators such as 'Tanaka Suzuki'.

Like in this current case :

'Tanaka Suzuki' has sent us a resume perfectly matching with our requirements (must have copy-pasted from that of a genuine translator only replacing his fake name and email). Moreover, he sent us sample work which was cross-checked and liked by our client (again, he must have got it done from some experienced genuine translator and sent it as his own).

So his resume is perfect, his sample is perfect, and his rate is within of the client's budget and therefore perfect. What else do i seek to in a translator and what for?

We are not familiar with the translator's country's culture since we totally belong to a different culture than to the required translator, and therefore, until such incident happens, and until a native genuine translator like Kaori let us know, how do we know that 'Tanaka Suzuki' is even not a genuine complete name in the culture it belongs to?

Again, until such thing happen, we generally do not ask the translators to send some ID which can confirm that he or she is what he or she claiming to be i.e., name verification. I don't think any agency ask for a copy of a translator's social ID card, or passport or any such thing as long as mere the profile and rate matches the requirements and the sample provided by the translator matches the expectation and cross-checking. In fact, we have worked for many companies and translation agencies all over the world and they have not yet generally asked for any such ID in the first place, until there is some issues happened in which it was shown required.

So on a practical note it was generally not required by an agency for translator to produce such documents.

However, this should be just opposite in case of a translator going to work for a new client. A translator, before going to work for a potential client, must do all the cross-checking, verfication and all of the client before starting working for him/her/them. As aptly suggested by you in the above article, a translator must "check the creditworthiness of the potential client using the ProZ.com Blue Board and other similar tools available in the market, by Googling the outsourcer name and other similar tools."


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:02
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Good message, late risk management Jul 18, 2012

Dear Meraj,

Your mail to 'Tanaka Suzuki' was very clear. I would bet that you will not hear from them ever again. As a lesson learned, in future engagement with new partners make sure to have positive identification before you engage in commercial activities.

I sent a message through your profile asking for the correspondence with these people, as I would like to send out a scam alert and totally clarify this incident.

Kind regards,
Enrique


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No... he seems to be not getting away so easily Jul 18, 2012

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

Dear Meraj,

Your mail to 'Tanaka Suzuki' was very clear. I would bet that you will not hear from them ever again. As a lesson learned, in future engagement with new partners make sure to have positive identification before you engage in commercial activities.
Enrique


Hi Enrique!

No... he seems to be not getting away so easily. I received a response from him today copy-pasting as-it-is below :

Dear Meraj,

if you do not send my payment which is overdue, I will give your details to an UK debt collection agency, and they will contact you by Monday. Plus I will let all my colleagues know that you are in the black list as a non-payer.

You lied to me you will pay me last week! Now you are trying to find a way by telling me lies not to pay me. I have done these jobs for you at meagre rates, and even then you are trying not to pay me. I will surely make sure you never ever get any translator work for you if I do not get my two payments. Also, I will not do any more jobs for you if you do not send me my two payments - the one of 465 USD that is due now and the next one. The 2nd payment of 922 USD is due by the end of this week too. Pls send me my two payments asap this week if you want me to do any more jobs for you. Pls do not believe the hackers! They are using diffrent names such as Basil, John Small, Suzuki Tanaka, Nabil, etc.. in order to deceive the gullible and the naive and get money from them by saying you won the lottery or sending business offers, or diseased African dictators money left in a Swiss bank and so on. They could be Nigerians.

I need my payments by the end of this week.


kind regards,
Suzuki


I am thinking what to reply to this mail now. Any suggestion from you will be more than welcome.

Meraj
Language Aide


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Received your mail Jul 18, 2012

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:
I sent a message through your profile asking for the correspondence with these people, as I would like to send out a scam alert and totally clarify this incident.

Kind regards,
Enrique


Hi Enrique!

Yes, i received your mail and about to reply to you there. I am going to forward all the mails exchanged with Suzuki Tanaka within few hours (i need to take permission from my seniors, and now it is being quite late night here in India).

Thanks!

Meraj Alam,
Language Aide

[Edited at 2012-07-18 21:45 GMT]


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:02
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Contact information and breach of confidentiality Jul 18, 2012

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency wrote:

I am thinking what to reply to this mail now. Any suggestion from you will be more than welcome.

Meraj
Language Aide


I would ask them for complete and verifiable contact information as a requirement for the payment, including (but not limited to) complete address, a land (no mobile) phone number and an image of a photo ID. Did you get an invoice from this person?

Also I would insist on the breach of confidentiality incurred by them as shown by the fact that Kaori had the files you had submitted only to Tanaka. They should provide a credible answer to this (especially if Kaori also provided the same translations you received from Tanaka).

Regards,
Enrique


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reply to 'Tanaka' Jul 19, 2012

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency wrote:

I am thinking what to reply to this mail now. Any suggestion from you will be more than welcome.

Meraj
Language Aide


I would ask them for complete and verifiable contact information as a requirement for the payment, including (but not limited to) complete address, a land (no mobile) phone number and an image of a photo ID. Did you get an invoice from this person?

Also I would insist on the breach of confidentiality incurred by them as shown by the fact that Kaori had the files you had submitted only to Tanaka. They should provide a credible answer to this (especially if Kaori also provided the same translations you received from Tanaka).

Regards,
Enrique


Thanks for your suggestion Enrique!

I did include what you said in the mail i wrote to 'Tanaka Suzuki' today in reply to his last mail :


DO NOT teach me how to recognize and deal with the scammers out there... actually i am already beginning to see one in the middle of this issue...

AND DO NOT threaten me with UK debt collecting agency, and your colleagues. One of 'your colleague' is already in our side, and everyone including any debt collecting agency, very well can decide by themselves whom to trust : a well-established 15-year old translation agency having good reviews and positive feedbacks online and offline, OR a faceless, multiple-name, seemingly non-real entity who is unwilling to even send a copy of his ID as a proof of himself because seemingly he does not have one. BTW, it was occurring me for a while to ask you : r u he or she? r u even a human?...

You seem to have not understanding my mails IN DETAIL. SO this time i would like to keep it a little short and simple.

IF YOU REALLY WANT YOUR PAYMENT TO BE DONE, STOP THREATENING AND CROSS-QUESTIONING me, instead you PLEASE provide what i am asking you to do :

I would ask you last time for your complete and verifiable contact information as a requirement for the payment, including (but not limited to) complete address, a landline (no mobile) phone number and an image (copy) of a photo ID. Also as you have agreed to TDS deduction from your payment

As well as a credible explanation of how the files which we sent YOU only, i.e, to TANAKA SUZUKI, reached Kaori Kaw.


If you again ignore my mail and fail to provide the above details, no email of yours regarding payments will be answered by me for sure; additionally we may seek the assistance of cyber police in this regard to nail the real offender.

Eagerly waiting to hear from you.

Meraj Alam


 

Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
India
Local time: 20:32
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mail sent with full header and Proz site rule Jul 19, 2012

Enrique Cavalitto wrote:

Dear Meraj,

Your mail to 'Tanaka Suzuki' was very clear. I would bet that you will not hear from them ever again. As a lesson learned, in future engagement with new partners make sure to have positive identification before you engage in commercial activities.

I sent a message through your profile asking for the correspondence with these people, as I would like to send out a scam alert and totally clarify this incident.

Kind regards,
Enrique



Apart from the mail to 'Tanaka' as posted above, i have sent one of his mails to you (directly to your email address) with the full headers so that you may investigate on it as you said.

Please note that i do not feel like copy-pasting email-exchanges in open here, but i am doing that so that site staff and moderators can refer to this post in case anything such required in future, and also because language-translators, particularly as innocent as Kaori Kaw in this case, can see and understand how and why it is utmost important to verify a potential client before doing the work.

However, if you still see this is against the site rule... i ready to stop updating this post. Please advise accordingly.

Thanks!

Meraj
Language Aide


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:02
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Confirmed scam Jul 23, 2012

Thanks to Meraj and Kaori, who sent the correspondence exchanged with their respective "partners" we can confirm that 'Tanaka Suzuki'/'John Small' were two impersonations in the same scam.

Regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


 
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