scammer impersonating translator (stolen wallet in Edinburgh)
Thread poster: Daniela Zambrini

Daniela Zambrini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:15
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jan 9, 2013

Hello,
I received the following email (apparently from a well respected colleague here on ProZ.com).


I am in Edinburgh, Scotland at the moment, I am here for a conference and I just had my bag stolen from me with my passport and personal effects. I have been trying to sort things out with the necessary authorities, I need some assistance from you. Let me know if you can be of any help.

Thanks, XXXX



I sent an email to our colleague via ProZ.com profile to warn her, but I believe it is important for all to know and to be safe!

Ciao,
Daniela


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same old BS Jan 9, 2013

Ignore this hoary old scam! It not only targets translators, but other professionals and people at random.
One client of mine lost his mobile smartphone (or had it stolen) and several of his contacts received exactly the same message within a few days.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:15
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Variation on a familiar theme Jan 9, 2013

That looks like a variation on an email I received in December 2011. It appeared to come from a friend (living in London) and said she was on an impromptu visit to Spain "for a program" and "I misplaced my wallet on my way back to my hotel after I went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables I had. Now, my passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when I make payment."
The email subject was "My sad trip...{person's name}".

That email was "From" her correct email address ({username}@btinternet.com) but it had a different "Reply to" address, which was {useriname}@yahoo.com (Yahoo instead of btinternet, and an extra letter in the username).

What had happened was: my friend had received an email that appeared to be from BTInternet (her ISP) asking her to go to a web site to verify her account details. She believed it and gave all her details to that website that looked like BT but was not. The fraudsters then took control of her account and sent this email to people in her address book.

After discussing this briefly with her on the phone (still at home in London), I sent a reply to the email saying something like "I'd like to help but you haven't told me how to send you the money." They immediately replied with an email that told me how to transfer the money via Western Union and, of course, I then did nothing in response.
(My friend was able to regain control of her BTInternet account by phoning them and explaining what had happened, but the address book had been emptied and the emails deleted.)
My conclusion from this and the existence of all the other scam emails that have been around for several years is, perhaps unfortunately: one's first reaction to any email must be not "Oh, there's an email from X", but "Is this email genuine or a fraud?"
Oliver


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:15
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Change the CD Jan 9, 2013

Any email requesting assitance based on the grounds of some personal papers or money having been stolen is a scam. Unless these scammers start innovating a new "song/story", their chance of winning is diminishing. Simple as that.

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scammer impersonating translator (stolen wallet in Edinburgh)

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