ID Theft and Fake Email
Thread poster: Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 21:48
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 3, 2013

Yet another case of impersonation by a company who does this regularly - a reputable translation company contacted me yesterday asking if I had registered on their site. I replied that I had not, and they informed me that they had almost been the victim of an impersonation scam.

As usual, the villains had changed my details on the CV to include a fake email address:
sarai.pahla@gmail.com - I have only two email addresses - saraip@gmail.com and sarai@shanzi.info.

The work they were tasked to do was returned and was of very low quality, and this prompted their immediate suspicion. Thankfully, nobody has been paid for this sub-standard work, but I am concerned that my reputation is being tarnished by the production of low-quality work.

On the other hand, I'm glad to see that reputable translation agencies are doing their due diligence with regards to finding the real person. We all know that there is an inherent risk present in sharing our details online, and although I now tend to either keep my CV private and send on request or use a scanned image file saved a PDF to prevent copying of the CV, I have no control over previous copies.

I wish I could hire a hacker to get into this account and plant a virus or something to infect the users PC, or simply gain access to shut down the account - if only they would hire themselves out as internet bounty hunters! I guess that's not the way the world works, right?


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:48
English to Polish
+ ...
Sorry to hear that May 3, 2013

I'm sorry to hear that, Sarai. While you can't just hack into the account (it's kinda like burglarising a burglar to get your stuff back: you shouldn't really but you'll go to jail for it), you can probably address Google with the problem. You could rely on the legal protection of your right to your personal data, personal image, professional image, as well as the integrity of your business. Whatever those guys did was criminal, which means their use of the account is infringing too.

I'm not sure to what extent an e-mail complaint would work but if you report the case to the police, get a copy of the confirmation of that report, attach something signed by a practicing lawyer, along with a copy of your business registration and some other things to verify that you are you, and mail the whole package by snail mail (and even Google has a snail-mail address), then you should probably at least get some response on paper.

You might want to get a non-free e-mail address or at least an alias and put up a general disclaimer on your website and other profiles for people to check headers instead of taking the signature e-mail for granted (any kid with access to PHP can sign off as any e-mail address, including president@whitehouse.gov), plus the same in your ToS.


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 21:48
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
At least there is some hope May 3, 2013

Thanks for your response, Łukasz! What I'm most impressed about at this stage is that at least some translation companies are aware of this problem. I am by no means the only person this has happened to, and will not be the last, but it is good to know that companies will make the effort to verify a translator's identity.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
While you can't just hack into the account (it's kinda like burglarising a burglar to get your stuff back: you shouldn't really but you'll go to jail for it)


I know, right? I don't think I would stoop to that level, but believe me, I am certainly tempted by the idea. In the end it wouldn't actually solve anything, however - someone else might just open up another account with sarai_pahla and we're in the same situation all over again...

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
you can probably address Google with the problem.


Google's policy states that they do not intervene in cases of impersonation, for various reasons.

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
You might want to get a non-free e-mail address or at least an alias and put up a general disclaimer on your website and other profiles for people to check headers instead of taking the signature e-mail for granted (any kid with access to PHP can sign off as any e-mail address, including president@whitehouse.gov), plus the same in your ToS.


Yep, I have a non-free email address already and am adding the relevant data to my various profiles and to my website in between getting work done.


 


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