How to deal with this scam?
Thread poster: StoyanovaT

StoyanovaT
Bulgaria
Local time: 12:38
Bulgarian to English
+ ...
Jun 12, 2015

Dear colleagues,
I hope you can help me with my problem.
I am a young translator and I didn't know that there are so many scams out there. So last year I was involved in one. It turned out to be a well-known scheme - a recruiter contacted me to offer me a freelance job. We contacted via e-mails and everything was fine. We agreed on rates, schedule, etc. Until one day, after I sent all my documents, rates and copies of my diplomas (!), this person stopped answering my e-mails. I contacted the central office of the agency (I can't tell the name, it is forbidden by Proz). I still have no response. This is an international agency with more than 10 offices worldwide, a website, physical addresses, etc. That's why I was so surprised by their unprofessional attitude.
My concern is that I gave them too much personal information, including the number of my Identity card
Is there anyone with similar experience? What should I do?

Thank you.

[Редактирано в 2015-06-12 13:08 GMT]


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 09:38
Japanese to English
Wait, did you actually do the job? Jun 12, 2015

Did you do the job and send it to them only to have them disappear on you? Or did communication stop after you'd agreed on rates and sent your certificates? If it's the latter, it's disappointing and unprofessional but hardly a scam. Sometimes the client cancels the case, sometimes the agency finds another translator and declines to tell the first. I wouldn't be too worried about them stealing your identity just yet.

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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:38
Member
English to French
Probably no scam Jun 12, 2015

StoyanovaT wrote:
...a recruiter contacted me to offer me a freelance job. We contacted via e-mails and everything was fine. We agreed on rates, schedule, etc. Until one day, after I sent all my documents, rates and copies of my diplomas (!), this person stopped answering my e-mails. I contacted the central office of the agency (I can't tell the name, it is forbidden by Proz). I still have no response. This is an international agency with more than 10 offices worldwide, a website, physical addresses, etc. That's why I was so surprised by their unprofessional attitude.

...but the way some mammoth "LSPs" work, filling in databases with a lot of information, including shoe size, computer brand and blood group, so that they can tap on a pool of 35 zillions translators around the world. Then nothing, because in the meantime they have found another "resource". But you can be sure your details are on a server somewhere in the world. Forever.

Welcome to the translation "industry".

Their attitude is not "unprofessional", but time-optimised. We're in "production" here, and you're only a lil' cog in their processes that requires a bit of lubrificant only when you actually spin for them.
And the "vendor" management team don't have time to acknowledge receipt of your documentation because:
1- They're already handling the next batch of ZFR>DFR translators
or
2- The cost-cutting team in their finance department are busy running analytics on how a 3.6-point increase in fuzzy match discounts will affect their bottom line, and don't presently have the processing power to categorise your revenue/cost profile for further potential contact.

If you're definite that you've sent this information to an actual translation agency (e-mail address with the same domain name as the website and/or the BB, external press releases, etc.), they may contact you when you come up in their filtered list for a specific job. In two weeks or two decades or never.

Their job offer may look as follows:

Dear [name_field_but_the_platform_changed_so_it_no_longer_works],
Sorry for the spam e-mail, but we've got this urgent reviewing job due [drop_down_list_here_yesterday_today_Monday_3am].
Project details:
Field: aviation
Document type: in-flight emergency manual
Difficulty: very technical
Audience: cockpit crew
Weighted wordcount: 154,628
Rate per weighted word: €/$0.02
Deadline: Yesterday
Special instructions: Please fill in the confidentiality questionnaire, acknowledge 32 webpages of gibberish so that in case of a plane crash, you pay for the aircraft and compensate the mourners and the airline company, and download the 124 MB instructions file, the 1.2GB multilingual TM, the 574 MB reference files and the 45 KB bilingual file to check.

Please let us know urgently whether you accept this project by logging in to our portal.

KR
Outsourcing team


Nothing to be wary of in my opinion.

Information is power.

Philippe


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:38
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Only relevant info Jun 12, 2015

StoyanovaT wrote:

Dear colleagues,

My concern is that I gave them too much personal information, including the number of my Identity card
Is there anyone with similar experience? What should I do?

Thank you.

[Редактирано в 2015-06-12 13:08 GMT]


Hi Stoyanova,

for one, your ID-number is information no agency needs for anything, regardless of what they say. Especially not upon first contact.

Even if this agency has several offices worldwide, it doesn't necessarily garantee anything. Did you check their reputation on the web? Did you contact the agency to find out if that person who's contacted you works there?

Of course agencies want translators to provide all information, but the question is, what does your ID-# have to do with any projects? The main thing is to do your homework first before you send out any information. And when you do, include it in a password protected PDF.

Do you have a phone number? If so - and it should be listed on their website -, then call them to find out what is being done with your sensitive information.

Good luck!


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StoyanovaT
Bulgaria
Local time: 12:38
Bulgarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We were in contact for a month Jun 12, 2015

TransAfrique wrote:

Did you do the job and send it to them only to have them disappear on you? Or did communication stop after you'd agreed on rates and sent your certificates? If it's the latter, it's disappointing and unprofessional but hardly a scam. Sometimes the client cancels the case, sometimes the agency finds another translator and declines to tell the first. I wouldn't be too worried about them stealing your identity just yet.


They sent me a test. Two types of texts - 550 words both. One of the text wasn't even in my fields of expertise. But I did it anyway. They said they were happy with the result and sent me a freelancer contract and some other documents - Quality Standards, Invoicing Guidelines, Confidentiality Agreement, Questionnaire for Translators.

Thayenga, that's when they needed my ID and copies of my diplomas. After we settled the price per word, I sent them the documents - signed and scanned. They told me that they will sign them too and send them to me on paper. And after that - nothing. I checked their IP - the location was the same as their website information, I checked the person who contacted me, everything seemed fine. That's why I wasn't suspicious and sent them my personal data. Thayenga, next time I will use a password protected PDF, thank you for the idea. And I will try to contact them. I have their phone numbers, but I will see if they work.

After all, maybe Philippe and TransAfrique are right and they have just cancelled...


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I am afraid agencies frequently do this Jun 12, 2015

Agencies often recruit translators when they have time, i.e. not many jobs.

Or else they recruit several translators when one job comes up in an unusual language pair, and they have not enough translators on their books. Only one translator gets the job, and the rest have to live with promises about 'next time'.

Most agencies do actually tell you there may be a 'next time', without promising you anything. Some even come back, as Philippe Etienne says, this year next year or sometime. I would not work with one that did not even answer my mails, unless I heard from colleagues that they were normally OK. Unfortunately the Blue Board may give a somewhat optimistic picture, but if big agencies do not have a solid row of 5-ratings, take it as a warning!

I find medium-sized agencies are often much better to work with.

They do not have huge city-centre offices and large, expensive admin. departments. Often the owner is a translator, but the team will actually know about translating, and they offer they clients personal service. They negotiate realistic deadlines and treat their translators well.

If you, the translator, run into problems, they are often very helpful - staff may know from their own experience how to help, or they may contact the end-client.

Because they are comparatively small but efficient, they offer good service at reasonable rates to end clients, and because they are helpful, you don't waste time on hassle and paperwork, so even if their rates are not high, you can be more productive and earn better. Some I work for pay well too.

Try to find clients like that and work up a good business relationship with them. Direct clients are fine if you can find them, but when you are beginning, smaller agencies sometimes provide very good support.

I hope you find some clients who are pleasant and profitable to work with!


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StoyanovaT
Bulgaria
Local time: 12:38
Bulgarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Jun 13, 2015

Christine Andersen wrote:

Try to find clients like that and work up a good business relationship with them. Direct clients are fine if you can find them, but when you are beginning, smaller agencies sometimes provide very good support.

I hope you find some clients who are pleasant and profitable to work with!


I hope I will find the right type of clients ... some day.
Thank you!

[Редактирано в 2015-06-13 11:28 GMT]


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:38
Serbian to English
+ ...
might well be a scam Jun 13, 2015

in the sense that they may use your details to win some big (or even not so big) contract pretending that YOU will be the one that will be doing the translations in your language combinations and fields of expertise [think tendering for the EU contracts ...], and then - when they get the contract - give the work to SOMEONE ELSE, to whoever is willing to accept the lowest rate possible.

Yes, it could be a double scam - in relation to the end client and in relation to you.

Or they could be "only" wasting your time on database building.


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