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Warning: Advanced Payment Scam!
Thread poster: Elizaveta McCasland

Elizaveta McCasland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Sep 26, 2015

Hi everyone,

I just want to warn you about a scammer that sends a fake check for a large amount of money as an advance payment.

This person asked me for a small translation without a deadline, then e-mailed me a purchase order with a
name of non-existent company ("Awareness properties management" with a non-existent address in a residential area in New Jersey and a phone number not working). When I asked for an advanced payment of 1/2 of my quote, I was mailed a forged check printed on a printer for a large amount of money (by certified mail). The check is mailed from PO Box 1304 in Eatontown, New Jersey.

The scammer used this name and e-mail: Melissa Cantor, melissac12251970@gmail.com.

This person contacted me through ProZ.com.

The header of the message looked like this:

-----------
You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: Melissa [NOTE: The author is not a registered ProZ.com user or was not logged in when sending this message.]
Author's IP address: 188.208.33.164
Message type: Request for quote
-----------
Message: Hi friend , how are you , What's your cost price per word

This IP is traced to Romania.

Whatever you ask this person (what is your physical address, why you don't answer the phone, etc.), she will always find an excuse (I'm out of town, on a trip) or give an answer. It feels like a normal conversation but it's really a fraud.





[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2016-02-03 20:22 GMT]


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Natasha Liberman  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 27, 2015

Elizaveta, thank you very much for your post!

I just came back from a trip and logged in to post about an extremely similar experience. The check I received seems to be genuine (although I can't really tell), but it is for $1,000 more than the price I quoted for the job. I did not ask for an advance payment, but the check came in before the supposed deadline.

Thank you again!

Natasha Liberman


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Elizaveta McCasland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Natasha, thanks for posting this as well. Sep 27, 2015

I have read about this type of scam where they send you a fake check for more than you asked, then say it was a mistake and ask you to wire them the difference. Some people did send the money back to scammers! The key is to never even try to cash that check. I hope you didn't. These days, they can make them look like real thing.
http://www.fraud.org/scams/general-fraud/fake-check-scams


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Meline Avetisyan-Monroe  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2015)
Armenian to English
+ ...
fake checks Sep 28, 2015

Hi everyone,

I have a similar story that first happened to me in February, but I am sure they are still acting somewhere.

All the same scenario: request for translation for about 167 USD and then you get 'a wrong' check for 2.200 USD.

Fortunately we did not send them a penny, trying to win time while scanning the check for being a fraud.
So, it was.
Since then I constantly receive job requests from suspicious people.
And they stop emailing me once I tell that I don't accept checks.

Here is the typical 'heart-breaking' moment of the correspondence:

''... I will give you details where you will return the difference fund to because the surplus is need to help the victim of Kashmir Valley Flood and Typhoon haiyan in Philippines also to provide cloth,food and shelter for less privilege kids.''

Glad to share some of those emails:

Terry James, barjon101@gmail.com
Stephen Slevin, stephen_slevin@gmx.us, and of course
Melissa Cantor, melissac12251970@gmail.com.



P.S. By the way, they are both on ProZ and Translatorscafe.com

Meline Avetisyan-Monroe


[Edited at 2015-09-28 19:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-09-28 19:36 GMT]


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João Roque Dias  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:54
English to Portuguese
Mellisa Cantor's fake check Oct 7, 2015

Published by the Translator Scammers Directory on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/tsdirectory/status/651704664254251009


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ARKADIUSZ KACZOROWSKI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:54
Member (2007)
English to Polish
+ ...
Melissa again melissac12251970@gmail.com Nov 6, 2015

Hi guys,
I am an old sucker and haven't read this forum before I committed to do a job for Melissa Cantor. Of course she has not paid and will not pay. I lost USD230 worth of time and effort.
Can proz.com just chase down this user or at least block this person from accessing the site?

You have been sent a message via ProZ.com.
Author: Melissa
[NOTE: The author is not a registered ProZ.com user or was not logged in when sending this message.] Author's IP address: 198.15.109.3 Message type: Request for quote
-----------

Hi Dearest friend , how are you ? What 's your cost price per word ?


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NataliaShevchuk  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Here she goes again! Nov 11, 2015

Apparently, this scammer has now different name, Sarah Moore. Her email is smoore00725@gmail.com. The IP was Swiss, 141.255.167.162, but she claims she is in NJ, USA. She sent me an attachment looking exactly like this web-page http://www.realtyassociation.com/files/purchaseagreement.pdf

When I asked about a deadline, she replied: "Ending of November" =)

Beware.


[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]


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Joanna Carroll  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:54
Polish to English
+ ...
I fell for it! Nov 16, 2015

NataliaShevchuk wrote:

Apparently, this scammer has now different name, Sarah Moore. Her email is smoore00725@gmail.com. The IP was Swiss, 141.255.167.162, but she claims she is in NJ, USA. She sent me an attachment looking exactly like this web-page http://www.realtyassociation.com/files/purchaseagreement.pdf

When I asked about a deadline, she replied: "Ending of November" =)

Beware.


[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]


I was in Poland last week when Sarah Moore contacted me asking for a quote and sent exactly the same document. Also asked for my address wanting to send me a cheque. Unfortunately, I only thought of checking this out here on Proz when she didn't reply to my request for her postal address so I can send her an invoice. I spent the weekend translating this fake agreement! Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Feeling bruised...


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CFCreative
United States
Local time: 20:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
smoore00725@gmail.com Nov 16, 2015

Same thing here. Exact wording of some of the emails you've posted. Her language, lack of punctuation and the use of a gmail account were red flags for us, as was the spelling of her last name in all caps: MOORE Sarah. It was too obvious that she is not a native English speaker and yet her name was; she also spelled her last name in all caps, a very French thing to do, also common in other Western European countries.

She's currently offering the same: offering to pay about $25 over our quoted price, won't release her company name so we can issue an Invoice and keeps asking for our address to mail a check. I didn't like the direction in which this was going, and my partner looked her up and found this scam thread. The funniest thing is that I told her we were graciously declining her offer because of fraud concerns, and she's still insisting on getting our full, legal company name and address so she can send this check out in advance.

Thanks for sharing your war stories - this really helps all of us to identify scammers. What a good community service!

Peace to all.

Conchie

[Edited at 2015-11-16 21:38 GMT]


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DboxTSL  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:54
English to Chinese
+ ...
The same happened to me Jan 15, 2016

NataliaShevchuk wrote:

Apparently, this scammer has now different name, Sarah Moore. Her email is smoore00725@gmail.com. The IP was Swiss, 141.255.167.162, but she claims she is in NJ, USA. She sent me an attachment looking exactly like this web-page http://www.realtyassociation.com/files/purchaseagreement.pdf

When I asked about a deadline, she replied: "Ending of November" =)

Beware.


[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-11-11 18:47 GMT]


Hi Natalia,

The same happened to me, by Tracy Johnson, creatorsales2016@gmail.com.
I was asked to translate the same document. After I asked some detailed questions about translating the RE acronyms, I grew suspicious and found out this sender had been reported for scamming people, http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Translator_scam_alert_reports

Everybody please be careful,
D.C.


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snowzhong  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
English to Chinese
+ ...
Tracy Johnson Feb 2, 2016

I came across Tracy Johnson and had wasted $550 work and time there. Good thing that the bank clerk is well aware of this kind of scam and warned me ahead of time before I made decision to send out the money.

creatorsales2016@gmail.com was her email.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never, ever accept work from... Feb 3, 2016

... a client with just a gmail address. There is no need to point out individual scammers - the use of a gmail address is evidence enough to suspect fraud.

I don't understand why people would consider for even one fraction of a second working for someone with a free email address (gmail, hotmail, etc.) and no other VERIFIED contact information.

Always ask for an alternative business email address, or verify their telephone number, or ask for mailing address documentation (id card, etc.).



[Edited at 2016-02-03 17:49 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I have a question for you. Feb 3, 2016

Do you happen to know how much money it costs these scammers to purchase, print and mail out a fake check? Perhaps if we all just said "Yes" and then cut off communication after we receive the check, we could cause them to waste a lot of money.


João Roque Dias wrote:

Published by the Translator Scammers Directory on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/tsdirectory/status/651704664254251009


[Edited at 2016-02-03 17:52 GMT]


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:54
Polish to Czech
+ ...
These scammers are a joke, so have fun with them Feb 3, 2016

LegalTransform wrote:

Do you happen to know how much money it costs these scammers to purchase, print and mail out a fake check? Perhaps if we all just said "Yes" and then cut off communication after we receive the check, we could cause them to waste a lot of money.


Don't know about the money but you can certainly cause them to waist some time and have some fun in the process:
http://www.ted.com/talks/james_veitch_this_is_what_happens_when_you_reply_to_spam_email

ONE LOVE


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:54
Member
French to English
+ ...
Inadvisable to reply to scam e-mails Feb 3, 2016

Tempting as it may be to 'play' with these scammers, it is highly indavisable to respond in any way — to start with, it will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on them, it is just like water of a duck's back!

BUT if you reply, what you do is validate your e-mail addrs for them — which suddenly makes it a saleable commodity, thus ensuring that you WILL receive plenty more scam requests in the future.


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