Request for translation of university diploma from Colombia
Thread poster: Celeste Klein

Celeste Klein
United States
Local time: 08:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 16, 2014

Dear forum members,
Yesterday I got the following email from a person that, based on my experience with scammers, smells like a scam:

Hello Ms. Klein-Malone,

My name is ... and I would like to know if you would be available to translate a one paragraph/page education document for me between now December 11, 2014 and January 12, 2015?

This document is a Bachelor's Degree Certificate of Graduation in Spanish from Colombia.

Please reply with your availability and your fee.

Thank you for your time.

The name in both the email and the diploma is from a real person (I Googled her and she--the real person--is a professor at a university in the US), and the second email I got today was supposedly from her husband, who I also found to be a real name related to that of the female who first wrote me.

I will be very sorry of this was a real request, but since scammers are getting so sharp at crafting their messages (using real peoples' names and actual diplomas, and now, it would seem, real family members' names), I wanted to run this by you first to see if any of you got a similar request.

Thanks in advance,
Celeste.


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:46
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ask for a skype meeting (use video) or phone. Dec 16, 2014

Tel them your need to clarify some points and for your safety and theirs you have this as a safety measure. If it is refused, that might be a case of scammer.

Good luck.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Maybe I'm naive... Dec 16, 2014

... but I can't see anything suspicious about this. Do we ask all potential customers for their IDs before doing any work for them? Or is there something you haven't told us?

[Edited at 2014-12-16 15:28 GMT]


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Celeste Klein
United States
Local time: 08:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update Dec 16, 2014

@ Paulinho: Yes, the person did provide a phone number. But based on what I've read about scammers, some of them are even doing this! They will give you a phone number where to talk and defraud people even after having talked to them.

@philgoddard: That is exactly what I am asking myself. What if the person is real and we are losing a potential client? I guess that is the million dollar question.

I should clarify though that this is not the first time a scammer has contacted me with an actual diploma from a real person! This happened a few months ago as well. Someone contacted me with a whole packet of personal documents from Chile. I researched the person's name and voila... Ended up bumping into a website of lost and found where the actual person said she had lost a packet with educational materials on such and such date on a bus in Chile!

Like I said, we should not underestimate scammers. They have gotten extremely good at what they do (likely from reading our own posts about what makes them suspicious). Bad English, no contact numbers, unwillingness to provide more info and sketchy source files no more...

As for this request in particular, I ended up going the extra mile and contacted the professor from Colombia at her .edu email address asking her if she actually contacted me and letting her know that if she did not, her identity, including her personal diploma, have been stolen.


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DCM Linguistics  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:46
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't see anything suspicious either, Dec 16, 2014

but when it comes to certificate translations and/or private individuals I always work with pre-payment only, no exceptions.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:46
German to English
Use the telephone Dec 16, 2014

If these people are affiliated with a university, it should be easy to get their office telephone number (Google the university faculty directory). Better to spend a dollar than wasting your time. Translators could spare themselves a lot of grief by learning how to the the telephone.

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Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 15:46
English to Polish
+ ...
I second Phil Dec 16, 2014

however such translation would be of no use in my country because such documents must be delivered to a translator in original (very seldom a notarized copy may suffice, but if the client cannot produce easily obtainable legalized copy from the university then something starts to smell fishy) in order to be properly certified as translated from the original.
Scan is no good for obvious reasons.
So I wonder what is the use of such a scan (coming obviously with the e-mail)?
Payment conditions are another thing (prepayment from unknown client is again obvious solution), however any scammer wishing to benefit from such a short document (1 page mostly) is a bit optimistic.

[Edited at 2014-12-16 16:39 GMT]


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Celeste Klein
United States
Local time: 08:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It was real! Dec 16, 2014

I ended up getting a response from the client from her .edu address.

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Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 15:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes but what about translation credibility from the scan? Dec 17, 2014

See my mail above

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