How do you spot a possible fraud?
Thread poster: S_A_DL

Local time: 05:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 14, 2014

Hi everyone:

I was just wondering what you can do to spot a possible fraud if you're contacted to translate a text. I've heard of such frauds and just wanted to know what the warning signs could be. I was recently contacted by someone who is an alleged translator, someone I do not even know, and this person wanted to offer me a translation job. I don't know. The email looks suspicious. The email does not mention my name or anything. It just says: Hi, I have this client and he has a translation (English into Spanish), 3,000 words. How much would you charge and when would it be ready?. Thank you.

Any thoughts on this?

Thank you.


Kalinka Hristova  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:14
Member (2007)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...

Look deeper into the Scams forum here May 14, 2014

Hi S_A_DL,

The easiest thing to do is look deeper into the Scams forum: .
What you might find particularly useful is Jared's article on tools for detecting scam: . There you will find further links on the topic.

Another good idea is to check the sender in the TRANSLATOR SCAMMERS DIRECTORY (, created and supported by João Roque Dias.

In short, if it smells like s***, it probably is...




Local time: 05:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you. May 14, 2014

Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
ProZ Knowledgebase Articles May 14, 2014

Red flags: a few things to watch out for when dealing with clients:

How to recognize a translation job scam: series on Risk Management: Scammers who steal translations:

Ces arnaqueurs qui volent vos traductions :


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:14
German to English
Various means to check May 14, 2014

There are some simple means to check for a scam. Scams emanating from the same source frequently use the same phrases. Many people arrive here at Proz by Googling a phrase or email address from the query.

Another method is to check the full header of the email (your email program should allow this). This will reveal the ID of the ISP which can then be checked via Google. If the query is allegedly from Mexico, for example, but the ISP is located elsewhere, say Nigeria, then the query is probably a scam.

Offer of payment in advance (without you asking) is a possible indicator of fraud, especially if the query mentions traveler's checks. The same applies to offers that are too good to be true.

Always get full contact details before accepting a job. A telephone number can be used to verify the identity of a potential client. A long-distance call might be expensive, but it can save you heartache later on.

Basically, if you use common sense, you can avoid most scams and cheats. Translators are easy targets because many think of themselves only as translators, not entrepreneurs. We are first and foremost business people, and that business is translation.


Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:14
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
A three-step program I recommend May 14, 2014

This 3-step program will protect you from most scams:
  1. When contacted by an unknown entity with a business proposal you should first ask yourself if this deserves further evaluation, otherwise delete immediately.

  2. If you move beyond that point, the next step is getting verifiable contact information and verify it. If you can't be sure of the other part's identity (especially if the urgency of the matter makes identification impossible) then delete immediately.

  3. Once you get confirmed ID of the contact, you should verify creditworthiness in the BlueBoard and other similar tools.

Learn more about scams in our scam alert center.



Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:14
German to English
I wouldn't even reply ... May 14, 2014

... to the email you describe because

a) It provides no details of who the sender is or what his contact details are. Any reputable person contacting you for a translation is either going to say "I represent xxx agency (or company) and we need this translating" or "I am an individual who needs a document translating because yyy". Without some background information the request can't be taken seriously.

b) It starts with "hi" and doesn't address you by name - always a bad sign.

c) It doesn't state the subject area of the translation.

It may not be a scam - it may simply be from a very unprofessional person, but either way if I did follow it up it would be with extreme caution.


Local time: 05:14
Spanish to English
+ ...
Could I? May 14, 2014

Well, I wasn't going to say this, but the email was allegedgly from a member of this community. I replied asking what the translation was about, how I would get paid and I asked the person emailing me if she'd give me her phone number so I could call her and talk about the translation in detail. She did not write me back.

Now, I looked her up here and it turns out this person is a respectable member of this forum. I do not think it was her, given the way the email was written, but I think it could be someone, a scammer, pretending to be her.

Would it be ok if I posted the email her or said who this person "is"? I don't know. If a scammer is saying he's someone else, he could hurt our colleague's reputation.

What do you think? What is even weirder is that I think our colleague lives in Spain and the IP address of the email I got is from the US, not from Spain.

So I am very suspicious. What does everyone think I should do?

What I find so weird is that this member of the Proz community would contact me, of all people, not because I'm a bad translator, but because she does not know me, at all. And it's not just that. In the email she does not even say what the translation is about. I specifically asked what it is about and her answer was very vague. I am also suspicious, because the punctuation in Spanish was not right and I do not think a colleague of ours would not know how to properly use punctuation in her native language.

[Edited at 2014-05-14 18:22 GMT]


Alejandro Cavalitto
Local time: 05:14
Please submit a support request May 15, 2014

Dear Sir/Madam,

Before posting information about a site user that could possibly hurt their reputation, please submit a support request with all the information you have, so site staff can look into this and take action. If this is in fact a scam, an alert can be sent through the scam alert center:

Best regards,


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 »

How do you spot a possible fraud?

Advanced search

SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running, helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features, ensures new

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search