warning!! known scammer on the prowl again
Thread poster: Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard
United States
Local time: 04:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mar 29, 2013

I received a translation request sent directly to my business e-mail three days ago and, thanks to the educational efforts by Proz.com about scams, I recognized the danger signs: poor English, free e-mail address, no details about text, etc. It was a request for a Portuguese-to-English translation from one "Isabel Benson." I didn't open the attachment, labelled simply "portuguese.docx." I googled the return e-mail address (doyen00066@ymail.com) and found a myriad of websites by freelance translators, counselors, photographers, and massage therapists recounting bad experiences over the past few years with someone using this name and other variants, such as Dr. Paul Vanderser, Randy Raymond, Curtis Denmarn, and probably many others, with similar e-mail addresses (doyen06@ymail.com, doyen0066@yahoo.com, etc.).

BEWARE, he's on the prowl again. His scam is the classic overpayment strategy (he/she is traveling, needs translation, associate will send check; check arrives but is too much; client requests refund of excess payment -- you the translator are screwed when check is returned as fraudulent). I notified Portuguese colleagues of mine, and within 2 days, about a dozen of them had received the same request. One of them wrote "Isabel" back to ask for details, and s/he said s/he was traveling in the Philippines and needed the translation in about 3 weeks. This same scummy scammer has targeted translators in other language pairs and has succeeded in bilking thousands and thousands of dollars from naive freelancers. Don't even engage with him, but do report any contact from him here in Proz.com and/or other translator forums, and alert the authorities in your jurisdiction.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:14
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Thank you Mar 29, 2013

Thank you for posting it here, Catherine.

Happy easter!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:14
German to English
+ ...
Glad to hear ProZ education efforts Mar 29, 2013

are working, and thanks for the warning. There are still too many translators, though, who are not aware of the problem, so your post here is a good effort.

Here is something else you can do: Report the scammer to the e-mail provider as an abuser of their e-mail service. Most of these companies are big enough and care enough about their image to take action. I did this recently with MS/hotmail, and they answered to ask for more information, which I then supplied. I also found this list of addresses to send internet/e-mail abuse reports:

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

You have to scroll down a bit to find the freemail providers. They normally want you to forward the entire e-mail with the header information. The more we report these, the more effective it will be. Even if one person can't do much at first, a combined effort may eventually get results. These scams are often run by criminal gangs, not just individual small-time crooks, so never respond - just report to the authorities.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jane Proctor  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
French to English
Thank you Catherine Mar 29, 2013

I'm new to Proz and have had my eyes opened in the past couple of months!

I don't remember receiving any particular warning flagging up this problem from Proz when I signed up. Indeed, we are actively encouraged to fill in our profiles with as much detail as possible. It's takes a while for new members to navigate the site, so whilst there is a lot of content about spam and identity theft, it isn't the first thing a new member would think to search for.

One simple suggestion, for starters, would be to advise everyone downloading their cvs, to do so in pdf format. I, naively, uploaded mine in .docx format at first...




[Edited at 2013-03-29 09:29 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
Member
French to English
+ ...
CVs in PDF Mar 29, 2013

Jane Proctor wrote:

One simple suggestion, for starters, would be to advise everyone downloading their cvs, to do so in pdf format. I, naively, uploaded mine in .docx format at first...


I did that too, and despite the fact that I changed it quite a long time ago, it still comes up in search engine caches; when I tried to get it deleted from the caches, I came up against a brick wall, or rather, a vicious circle: Google refused to deal with me directly as I wasn't the actual host of the data (i.e. ProZ.com), while ProZ.com simply referred me to Google; the end result was that I got nowhere However, since I have now moved house, the cached contact information at least is no longer valid!

Naturally, I signed up donkey's years ago, so don't see the messages new members would see; but I certainly agree with you that it is at that very moment of first signing up that a very prominent warning needs to be given to people (many of whom, it is reasonable to assume, might well be inexperienced at that moment in time) about scamming in the translation world, with a hotlink to the scam warning centre; I'd even go so far as to add a pester screen so that they were reminded to go and read at least the basic Wiki each time they logged in until they clicked the button to confirm they had read it.

However, do be aware of one thing: even a PDF CV is no protection, since Google (and no doubt other search engines) automatically creates HTML versions of PDF documents (EVEN image ones!) — so it will still be out there and copy/pasteable

I chose to make my CV 'upon request' only, even though this is a bit of a pain; but then, even those people who had visited my profile used to ask me for my CV, so they obviously couldn't be bothered to download it...

In my own case, the worst instance of identity theft came from another ProZ.com member, who quite openly plagiarized virtually the whole of the information directly from my profile — ironic, really, since as you say, we are constantly encouraged to put as much information as possible into our profiles, and I have in fact even been congratulated on the fullness of my profile...

[Edited at 2013-03-29 09:47 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jane Proctor  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
French to English
Cv's is pdf format unsafe Mar 29, 2013

Thanks.. I didn't realise that.. Mine is going to get deleted right away!

I wholeheartedly second everything else you have to say. You have clout round here Tony.. I hope Proz is listening!!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
Member
French to English
+ ...
Moi... clout?! Mar 29, 2013

I don't think so, but it's kind of you to say so.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:14
English to Spanish
Anything that is readable is unsafe Mar 29, 2013

Tony M wrote:

However, do be aware of one thing: even a PDF CV is no protection, since Google (and no doubt other search engines) automatically creates HTML versions of PDF documents (EVEN image ones!) — so it will still be out there and copy/pasteable



It is not unsafe because it can be copied and pasted.

It is unsafe simply because it can be read, even if it cannot be copied and pasted.

As long as the scammer knows how to read and type, that is all it takes.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:14
Member
French to English
+ ...
Laziness is a factor Mar 29, 2013

Miguel Carmona wrote:

It is not unsafe because it can be copied and pasted.

It is unsafe simply because it can be read, even if it cannot be copied and pasted.

As long as the scammer knows how to read and type, that is all it takes.


That is of course to some extent true; however, experience suggests that scammers are more likely to take the easy way out and use copy-and-paste wherever possible; so the extra work involved in having to re-type the text might just be enough to discourage them and send them off to scam some other poor soul. Also, in the re-typing, they are very likely to make mistakes, which will help to invalidate any CV they might thus create.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Beatriz Negron
United States
Local time: 04:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for the Heads-Up, Catherine! Apr 6, 2013

Hello, colleagues:
I was contacted by this Isabel Benson on 3/24/13. Thank God for seasoned interpreters willing to share their experiences so others don't fall into the same trap!
Catherine, thanks a million!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Catherine Howard
United States
Local time: 04:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
great to hear someone avoided falling into the scam Apr 8, 2013

Hi Beatriz, I'm thrilled to hear that you didn't fall into the trap! Unfortunately, I heard about some other translators who got burnt in the past couple of weeks because they were not aware of classic scam tip-offs and were too trusting. I've learned so much about scammers' strategies from other Proz members and the Proz scam alert page, so it was spooky getting the e-mail. Payment Practices also has a helpful discussion of warning signs, along with a list of reported scammers (including Benson). Let's count ourselves lucky!

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:14
Member (2008)
English to French
This... Apr 8, 2013

Tony M wrote:

Jane Proctor wrote:

One simple suggestion, for starters, would be to advise everyone downloading their cvs, to do so in pdf format. I, naively, uploaded mine in .docx format at first...


I did that too, and despite the fact that I changed it quite a long time ago, it still comes up in search engine caches; when I tried to get it deleted from the caches, I came up against a brick wall, or rather, a vicious circle: Google refused to deal with me directly as I wasn't the actual host of the data (i.e. ProZ.com), while ProZ.com simply referred me to Google; the end result was that I got nowhere However, since I have now moved house, the cached contact information at least is no longer valid!


I learned the hard way not to put my address on my cv - years ago I applied for English teaching jobs and when I transmitted my cv in answer to specific job posts, it was added to my profile by the host and then cached by google... fast forward a few years and this guy whose idea of seduction was akin to stalking and who is rabidly texting me actually quotes that old address back to me, thankfully I'd moved twice since then. I knew my privacy settings on facebook were tight and my cv on Proz didn't have my address so I did a little digging and found that old one cached on google.... As for the guy, I just didn't answer his texts or calls and he let up after a few months... who knows if he'd actually been able to physically find me!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

betsygee  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:14
Spanish to English
Still around Jul 9, 2016

I received an email from one "David Miller" at doyen06@yahoo.com, asking for prices for a translation and attaching a PDF. I was immediately suspicious as it just came out of the blue, not from any site I'm registered on. I did a Google search and this thread, as well as many others from other sites, came up.

Persistent, aren't they?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Alejandro Cavalitto[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

warning!! known scammer on the prowl again

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search