Possible scam alert
Thread poster: Tony M

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:21
Member
French to English
+ ...
Mar 18, 2013

Just received a contact request on Skype from a B***n J******n, written in very poor English; when I accepted, I got this long message, again poorly written, inviting me to join the tema of translators working for T********n S****s. com (I think I remembered the name corretcly)

This name rang a bell, I feel sure I have come across it before in this forum.

Anyway, the whole thing seemed too fishy for words, not least, because his claimed geolocation was Gaza, Germany (?!), the former seeming more likely, given the Arab script visible in his profile.

I immediately deleted and blocked this contact and reported the abuse to Skype (for all the good that is likely to do!)

Just wanted to share the information, this is the first time I've been aware of an actual scam attempt via my Skype account.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another one, possibly related Mar 18, 2013

I received a contact request on Skype this morning from a certain A___d N____r of Gaza, who quickly offered me a proofreading job, which I did not accept.

The feature of this job that appeared a bit more sophisticated that other scams was that he actually sent me paired English and Spanish documents. But I suppose that these are fairly easy for anyone to get a hold of....

Gaza seems to be "the new Nigeria" as far as scams directed against the translation industry go....


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:21
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Reporting scams/spam Mar 19, 2013

Tony M wrote:
...
I immediately deleted and blocked this contact and reported the abuse to Skype (for all the good that is likely to do!)

Just wanted to share the information, this is the first time I've been aware of an actual scam attempt via my Skype account.


Thanks, Tony, for reporting this. I'm a firm believer in reporting scams, spam and other abuses to the service these crooks are using. I think if everyone did it, the problem could diminish over time. No guarantees, of course, but the big freemail providers all have a vested interest in keeping this kind of thing to a minimum just as ProZ does. Here's a handy link to bookmark for future reference.

http://spamlinks.net/track-report-addresses.htm

A lot of countries also have government entities to handle internet fraud, a few of them are also listed on the linked resource. Everything else can be Googled.

Edited to add:
@ Robert - I think there may really be a group in Gaza that is trying to break into this business, but is hopelessly unqualified to do a proper job. I read on a LinkedIn post that someone had given them a translation job, but they were unable to deliver it and only told the client after the due deadline. They may have the right intentions, but are rank amateurs and don't really know what they are doing. Apparently the group has twigged to the fact that money can be made in translation, and are jumping on board without the tools or knowledge needed. So they may not be scammers, but should be avoided like the plague, in any case. Could be it's the same people trying to use Skype now, since they don't seem to be having much success using the more "traditional" communication channels.

[Edited at 2013-03-19 10:58 GMT]


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 17:21
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
The scamsters are at it again Mar 19, 2013

Tony M wrote:

Just received a contact request on Skype from a B***n J******n, written in very poor English; when I accepted, I got this long message, again poorly written, inviting me to join the tema of translators working for T********n S****s. com (I think I remembered the name corretcly)

This name rang a bell, I feel sure I have come across it before in this forum.


I got a post from N****n M**h from the same company - I remember reading about this is the forum as well and as a result accordingly ignored the message. This time, however, they contacted me via one of my professional memberships. I have already reported the company as required and they can't post here anymore, but thanks for posting to notify anyone who might not be aware.


 

Raya Mansour  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 18:21
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
Same with another name! Mar 19, 2013

Which apparently I cannot mention on this forumicon_smile.gif

Raya


 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:21
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
I think is the same Mar 26, 2013

but he/she uses another name.
But he/she says to be the PM of the same agency.

This the text

Dear translators,


I have in hand a project to be translated from English to Italian, but first you need to translate a sample

I have attached the source file for our English legal sample here. Are you happy to translate a sample from English into Italian?

We would ask you to translate the highlighted sections of the English source text into Italian, following the style guidelines as applicable.



Kind Regards,

M

Project Manager
www.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com

Skype: XXXX


 

Clare Swann
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:21
Italian to English
+ ...
Email received from same agency asking for CV Mar 28, 2013

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to report that the same agency sent me an email yesterday asking for my CV and cover letter so they could work with me. Sender's name was S*****f S***t. The text of the email is below:



Dear translator,


We are a Translation company and need professional, freelance translator to translate projects from Italian to English. If you are interested in working with us, please send me your CV and cover letter to be able to work together now and in future.


Regards,

XXXXXXX

Project Manager

WWW.XXXXXXXXXXX

Skypeicon_mad.gifXXXXXXXXX

Something about it didn't read quite right and the email and skype name seemed strange so luckily I googled the agency before replying. My email address was used, not too sure where that came from but think it may have been through another well-known translation database. I'm also going to report this on proz wiki.


 

Fahd Hassanein  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 17:21
Member (2009)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Same Name in a Skype Call May 15, 2013

I did receive this Skype call today from the same name B***n J******n mentioned above.

I didn't answer because it is not my habit to accept communication from unsolicited sources via Skype. I went straight away to search and bumped into this thread and the name mentioned amongst possible scams.

I am adding my vote to the "beware" listicon_smile.gif

Best wishes,
Fahd


 

ExScientiaVera
Faroe Islands
Local time: 16:21
Danish to English
+ ...
This is poor behavior... on your part May 15, 2013

I understand why people are going to be a bit shy when there is a chance the person contacting them is trying to scam them, but it is just that, a chance.
Look at it from their side for a moment. They can be skilled translators in pairs that do not include English, but realize they need to make an effort to earn the trust of any potential clients, or earn the trust of vendors they are reaching out to.
I think reporting them after they contact you with a proposal you do not find appealing is appalling. A simple and polite declination would have sufficed.
I know people will disagree with me, but please tell me, how should a business in the Gaza Strip contact a vendor here on Proz? Clearly they should not use Skype or e-mail us. But what else is left?


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:21
German to English
Establishing a business can be a struggle May 15, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:

I understand why people are going to be a bit shy when there is a chance the person contacting them is trying to scam them, but it is just that, a chance.
[snip]
how should a business in the Gaza Strip contact a vendor here on Proz? Clearly they should not use Skype or e-mail us. But what else is left?


It's unfortunate indeed that legitimate businesses in Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire and other places known for Internet scams are at a severe disadvantage due to their national reputation for fraud. I suspect that the only alternative for these legitimate would-be agencies might be to affiliate with established companies outside the region.

My own preference (with one notable exception) is not to do business with an agency located in a country where my language combination is not germane to international commerce. This leaves out over 180 countries who are members of the United Nations, but I'm happy to let some opportunities pass me by.


 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:21
Member
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh come on! May 19, 2013

ExScientiaVera wrote:

I know people will disagree with me, but please tell me, how should a business in the Gaza Strip contact a vendor here on Proz? Clearly they should not use Skype or e-mail us. But what else is left?


Yes, I do disagree with you — and strongly!

Any legitimate business in the Gaza Strip or other countries with a poor reputation with respect to scamming really needs to take this on board, and instead of running around screaming "racism!", they should pro-actively address the problem.

First, if EN (etc.) is not their native language, they could ask a native speaker of EN (or any other language as appropriate) to draw up their 'initial approach' message for them; this could be a small paid job, or might even be asked as a favour from a translator seeking to join their team.

Secondly, they should introduce their company and give full, verifiable contact details.

Thirdly, they should avoid using 'free' e-mail addresses — having their own domain name is at least some proof of a legitimate business. If for genuine reasons this is not possible, then if they do have to resort to a free service, they should at least make the e-mail address they choose sound professional, e.g. by including their company name, instead of being 'Fluffybunny874@suspiciousmail.com"

These three simple actions alone ought to prevent their approaches being binned at first sight.

By the way, I have to say that I find Skype a bit informal to be used for a first contact, even though I do use it a lot with my customers for instant communication after an initial contact has been established. However, here again, following the points above would be a great help even for a Skype contact.

ExScientiaVera wrote:

I think reporting them after they contact you with a proposal you do not find appealing is appalling.


You seem to be missing the point: we are not talking about "a proposal I do not find appealing" — we are talking about a highly probable scam attempt by dishonest criminals; and the other posters in this thread have confirmed that my hunch was spot on.

It is only by reporting and sharing information in this way that we can hope to protect the more vulnerable and/or less experienced among us who might be unluckly enough to be ensnared by these thieves. I think it is our DUTY to report such activities, for the good of the community as a whole.

By the way, the advice generally given is NOT to reply to scammers in any way — at the very least, doing so only serves to validate your e-mail address and potentially open you to even more floods of spam and/or scams.

[Edited at 2013-05-19 08:15 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-05-19 08:16 GMT]


 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:21
Member
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My own experience... May 19, 2013

Kevin Fulton wrote:

My own preference (with one notable exception) is not to do business with an agency located in a country where my language combination is not germane to international commerce.


I entirely agree with Kevin's point of view.

I have only one customer from a 'risky' country — this person is a member of ProZ.com, has a strong, ongoing presence as a KudoZ contributor, and at the first approach gave me all the buisiness information one could hope for, and without being asked. Their whole approach was totally professional and businesslike, and my only residual qualms were to do with payment methods, as I am unfamiliar with banking practices in that country. The enquirer was quick to reassure me, and we have now had a number of successful transactions together.

This approach contrasted starkly with the style of other presumed scam approaches.

I suppose we have to be prepared for the fact that the scammers may well get more sophisticated (due, in no small part, to the helpful training advice being given in this and other similar threadsicon_frown.gif ) — though as there are already enough gullible victims out there for them to earn a tidy living out of it, perhaps they won't bother. We can but hope...


 


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