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Email scam targeting translators
Thread poster: Alexandre Khalimov

Alexandre Khalimov  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Russian to English
+ ...
Jan 7, 2014

Hello,

This happened to me in the last few days:

A message arrives in my Inbox:
"Season Greeting,I am Jonathan Cowan, I am a sociologist, i found your e mail address on http://http://ottiaq.org, that you are a Translator, i will like you to translate an article for me, i have attached the article, and i will like the article to be translated to Russian. I will like to know the cost of translating the article, and the deadline is 14th of Feb 2014.

I will be waiting for your reply.

Thank You
Jonathan Cowan"


After my reply with quote:
"Thank You very much for the reply, I was hoping may be you could give me a further reduction in price. Please let me know the best you can do for me.

Thank You"


After an alternative proposal:
"Thank You very much for the e mail, I am very pleased with your price, and i am ready to make payment. I will need your full name and address so that i can issue out your payment.

Thank You"



By that time I became suspicious and read the first message again. Aha! The clumsy wording is a dead giveaway. Sociologist Jonathan Conan? Yeah, right.

"Thank You very much for the reply, I don't have a paypal account that is why i am paying by check. Let me know if that is OK with by you.

Thank You
--------------------------------------------
On Tue, 1/7/14, Alex Khalimov wrote:

Subject: Re: Translator Needed
To: "JONATHAN Cowan"
Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 7:13 AM

Thank you for your reply.
Please send the $850.00 via PayPal to
XXXXXXXX The translation will be ready
three working days after receipt of the payment.
Thank
you and best regards,
Alex"



Please be careful out there, everybody. The crooks are specifically targeting translators now with elaborate scamming schemes. Last year a colleague shared a similar story, only in her case she actually received the advance payment in form of a cheque and a stipulation that she was to send half the amount back to the client (with an clever explanation); she was smart enough to have the bank look at the cheque prior to negotiating it. Sure enough it was a fake.


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3ADE shadab
Local time: 23:46
Hindi to English
+ ...
Thanks . Can i post the same on Linkedin for you.. Jan 8, 2014

Alexandre Khalimov wrote:

Hello,

This happened to me in the last few days:

A message arrives in my Inbox:
"Season Greeting,I am Jonathan Cowan, I am a sociologist, i found your e mail address on http://http://ottiaq.org, that you are a Translator, i will like you to translate an article for me, i have attached the article, and i will like the article to be translated to Russian. I will like to know the cost of translating the article, and the deadline is 14th of Feb 2014.

I will be waiting for your reply.

Thank You
Jonathan Cowan"


After my reply with quote:
"Thank You very much for the reply, I was hoping may be you could give me a further reduction in price. Please let me know the best you can do for me.

Thank You"


After an alternative proposal:
"Thank You very much for the e mail, I am very pleased with your price, and i am ready to make payment. I will need your full name and address so that i can issue out your payment.

Thank You"



By that time I became suspicious and read the first message again. Aha! The clumsy wording is a dead giveaway. Sociologist Jonathan Conan? Yeah, right.

"Thank You very much for the reply, I don't have a paypal account that is why i am paying by check. Let me know if that is OK with by you.

Thank You
--------------------------------------------
On Tue, 1/7/14, Alex Khalimov wrote:

Subject: Re: Translator Needed
To: "JONATHAN Cowan"
Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, 7:13 AM

Thank you for your reply.
Please send the $850.00 via PayPal to
XXXXXXXX The translation will be ready
three working days after receipt of the payment.
Thank
you and best regards,
Alex"



Please be careful out there, everybody. The crooks are specifically targeting translators now with elaborate scamming schemes. Last year a colleague shared a similar story, only in her case she actually received the advance payment in form of a cheque and a stipulation that she was to send half the amount back to the client (with an clever explanation); she was smart enough to have the bank look at the cheque prior to negotiating it. Sure enough it was a fake.


Thanks for this valuable information i will surely take care. May i request if i can share this information on different groups of linkedin if you allow or you please do the same for yourself.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Common overpayment scam Jan 8, 2014

Hi Alexandre,

this type of overpayment scam has been around for years.

One of the signs is the usage of poor English by an alleged native English speaker according to their name. I'm almost certain that the request came from one of the free amail addresses, e. g. gmail or hotmail. This is not necessarily a sign of a scammer's attempt, but in combination with the poor English and the payment by check (some legitimate clients do pay with a check, though) this is a red flag.

What is fairly new (at least to me) is that the scammer is bargaining. Usually they accept any price that the translator quotes.

To save yourself some time, you might wish to check the email header and then The Hall of Shame at http://www.jrdias.com/jrd-translator-scammers.htm There many scammers are listed by name and email address. A search there is less time consuming than an unfruitful email correspondence.

Regards,

Thayenga


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 12:16
German to English
+ ...
I got a similar one Jan 8, 2014

Mine went this way
Hello,
I'm Monica Johnson,I got your email from the website ( http://search.atio.on.ca) that you are a competent translator.
I have an article i want you to help me translate from (French into English).
I would like to know your terms and how much it would cost for the article?I have attached the article to this email so you could check and let me know how how long it would take to get it translated?


Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.


I quoted her $850 and she quickly wrote back that she would send me a "check" for 40% as prepayment. The cheque arrived in the amount of $3,000.15, from France, and my bank saw at first glance that it was fake. A message came from the ATIO the same day, warning of suspicious activities by a Monika Johnson.

Btw, the cheque was a TD Bank cheque, and TD says they don't have branches in France.


[Edited at 2014-01-08 11:37 GMT]


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João Roque Dias
Portugal
Local time: 18:16
English to Portuguese
Scams - Translator Impersonators and Payment Scams Jan 8, 2014

Thank you, Thayenga, for your reference to my TRANSLATOR SCAMMERS DIRECTORY.

However, my Directory DOES NOT list scammers of the kind mentioned on this thread (overpayment).

It lists ONLY scammers involved in the impersonation of translators and in the theft of translators' credentials.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
But it's helpful Jan 8, 2014

João Roque Dias wrote:

Thank you, Thayenga, for your reference to my TRANSLATOR SCAMMERS DIRECTORY.

However, my Directory DOES NOT list scammers of the kind mentioned on this thread (overpayment).

It lists ONLY scammers involved in the impersonation of translators and in the theft of translators' credentials.


Dear João,

yes, your directory doesn't list overpayment scams. However, when an email or a name is listed there, then the red flag goes up. It has helped me several times to identify scammers which later on turned out to be in the overpayment "business". So thank you for your list!!

Best regards,

Thayenga


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 12:16
German to English
+ ...
different names, same scam? Jan 8, 2014

If Alexandre's scam is coming from the same place as mine, then e-mails and names won't help much. I have an "@ yahoo" address - free. Since they have targeted ATIO and OTTIAQ, they may be after the other CTTIC provincial sections.

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Cristina Mazza Piccolo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:16
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Other scammer names Jan 10, 2014

I received the same Monica Johnson scam email from David Bone, David Benson, and Marshal Martin.
Red flags: the language pair is in brackets, there are no contact details or details about the article to translate, and when I requested advance payment the response was that this was fine and he needed my full name, address, and phone number to do it.
The emails are all from a yahoo account.

[Edited at 2014-01-10 17:19 GMT]


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berthaluvilla
United States
Monica Johnson Scam Jan 10, 2014

I received an email today from a Monica Johnson as well, she asks for a quote for a translation from Spanish to English. I am automatically suspicious about anything that is worded like this because I had a similar experience about three years ago except that time I fell for it...I was scammed for about $2,500 US by a 'Charles Bunneth'...

Anyway, be on the lookout. This is what my email looked like:

Hello,
I'm Monica Johnson,I got your email from the website ( http://www.atanet.org/) that you are a competent translator.
I have an article i want you to help me translate from (Spanish into English).
I would like to know your terms and how much it would cost for the article?I have attached the article to this email so you could check and let me know how how long it would take to get it translated?

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely
Monica Johnson


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Patty Black
United States
Local time: 10:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Similar scam email Jan 12, 2014

I just got a similar email from a so called Monica Johnson. It came from gybardey@hotmail.com. It looks like originating IP is 157.55.2.90

Hello,
I'm Monica Johnson,I got your email from the website ( http://www.atanet.org/) that you are a competent translator.
I have an article i want you to help me translate from (Spanish into English).
I would like to know your terms and how much it would cost for the article?I have attached the article to this email so you could check and let me know how how long it would take to get it translated?

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely
Monica Johnson


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Josefina Iannello  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
More on "Monica Johnson" Jan 12, 2014

Hi all,

I just wanted to warn everyone that I received an e-mail from this suspicious "Monica Johnson" on January 10th, from the email address "gybardey@hotmail.com."

Here is the exact wording:

Hello,
I'm Monica Johnson,I got your email from the website ( http://www.atanet.org/) that you are a competent translator.
I have an article i want you to help me translate from (Spanish into English).
I would like to know your terms and how much it would cost for the article?I have attached the article to this email so you could check and let me know how how long it would take to get it translated?

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely
Monica Johnson

A 10-page long article on terrorism was attached to the email. When I replied with my terms, they sent the following:

Thanks for the response.The price is well okay.I would like to send you 50% CHECK of the total amount as deposit for the job so that you could start work and i can balance you up before the translation is completed.What do you think about the idea? If it is cool then I would need your full name,address and phone number so that i could have it sent to you.
Kindly get back to me with these information.

Best Regards
Monica Johnson

I hope this helps any colleagues who have received something similar and are wondering whether this Monica Johnson character is legit or not.

All the best and watch out for scammers!


Josefina

[Edited at 2014-01-12 19:45 GMT]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
I got the Monica version Jan 13, 2014

I received the Monica Johnson version today. The "from" address is as follows: "jb monica" (gybardey@hotmail.com). Apparent source IP: 157.55.1.173.

It sounded fishy so I Googled some text from the message and found this thread, confirming what I suspected: that it's an overpayment scam.

[Edited at 2014-01-13 13:44 GMT]


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Samantha Lisk  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:16
Spanish to English
Monica Johnson scam Jan 13, 2014

I received the same email from Monica Johnson this morning from the email address gybardey@hotmail.com. Like the others, the text is as follows:

"Hello,
I'm Monica Johnson,I got your email from the website ( http://www.atanet.org/) that you are a competent translator.
I have an article i want you to help me translate from (Spanish into English).I would like to know your terms and how much it would cost for the article?I have attached the article to this email so you could check and let me know how long it would take to get it translated?

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely
Monica Johnson"

Attached to the email was an 11-page document in Spanish on terrorism. A small part of the document was in English, but this section was randomly in the middle of the doc.

Glad that I googled the email address and came up with this thread first! Thanks for your vigilance, all!

Samantha


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Jason Rogers
United States
Local time: 13:16
French to English
+ ...
I got the same email yesterday! Jan 13, 2014

I got the same email yesterday, although I responded before looking up the email address

Is there anywhere we can report this info?

jason


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 12:16
German to English
+ ...
the plan Jan 13, 2014

I'm guessing that they are targeting one professional organization after the other. The 2nd response letter by "Monika" is almost identical to mine, except for offering a 50% down payment instead of 40%. The text is the same - article about terrorism.

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