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How to find out if someone is scamming you?
Thread poster: Robin Joensuu

Robin Joensuu  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:56
Member
English to Swedish
Oct 7, 2015

I was contacted by a translation agency earlier today, which looked legitimate at a first glance, but found this researching them:

http://www.translator-scammers.com/#n73

Do you have more tips on lists of non-serious agencies and scammers?


 

oxygen4u
Portugal
Local time: 02:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This may help Oct 7, 2015

http://translationethics.blogspot.se/p/blog-page_13.html

 

xxxDorothyX
France
Local time: 03:56
Well Oct 7, 2015

Some red flags:
- hotmail or gmail address (because real companies have real mailboxes)
- too many errors in text
- more interested in their own payment methods than in your translation capabilities
- explaining diseases (cancer, etc.) or lost portfolio
- one-shot method (you have to decide immediately)
- text to be translated is on the internet
- office is in a weird place

The people they want to scam are those who do not see red flags. (therefore, you are not concerned!)
Those people are ready for the next step.


 

Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:56
German to Swedish
+ ...
More red flags Oct 7, 2015

- Message starts with "My name is X".
- Message contains lots of irrelevant "business travel" details (to impress the impressionable)
- No contact details (other than the hotmail/gmail address)
- Bad punctuation
- General flavor of having been written in a south-of-the-border internet café
- Generous payment (all decent payment offers are scams)

[Bearbeitet am 2015-10-07 19:27 GMT]


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:56
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
Scam alert center Oct 7, 2015

You can find useful information on scams at ProZ.com Scam Alert Center and as a ProZ.com member you can subscribe to the scam alert notifications.

Kind regards,
Enrique


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:56
Member (2008)
Italian to English
What? Oct 7, 2015

Joakim Braun wrote:

- General flavor of having been written in a south-of-the-border internet café


South of what border? What do you mean? I'm curious about that remark. Off-topic, I know...but still...

[Edited at 2015-10-07 21:27 GMT]


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
South of the border Oct 7, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

Joakim Braun wrote:

- General flavor of having been written in a south-of-the-border internet café


South of what border? What do you mean? I'm curious about that remark. Off-topic, I know...but still...

[Edited at 2015-10-07 21:27 GMT]


Down Mexico way?


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps in addition to a list of.... Oct 8, 2015

... known scammers (which is terrific by the way), we also need a list of verified legitimate companies.

 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 20:56
German to English
+ ...
The language is becoming sophisticated Oct 8, 2015

The warnings about poor language use is still apt a lot of the time, but they're getting wise to what we are getting wise to. The last scam was written in good believable English, with an address in a European country or the US (I forget which), along with a phone number that checked out in terms of area code. But the next bit involved an arrangement regarding their customer who owed them money, so "their customer" would be sending me an excessive amount, and I should send the difference to "their accountant". Three sets of parties involved. It was the arrangement that showed it to be a scam.

 

Bo Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:56
Member (2014)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Contacted by Linguistics Theory Oct 8, 2015

Robin Joensuu wrote:

I was contacted by a translation agency earlier today, which looked legitimate at a first glance, but found this researching them:

http://www.translator-scammers.com/#n73

Do you have more tips on lists of non-serious agencies and scammers?


I was contacted by a person from Linguistics Theory yesterday on Skype. She said she's a project manager of Linguistics Theory and sent me their website link. The claimed project manager asked for my CV yesterday.
I just searched and find out Linguistics Theory is listed as a scammer in http://www.translator-scammers.com/#n73. What do they need my CV for? They didn't ask me for anything else.
Thanks Robin for the sharing.

[Edited at 2015-10-08 07:18 GMT]


 

Robin Joensuu  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:56
Member
English to Swedish
TOPIC STARTER
To win tenders? Oct 8, 2015

Wangbo231 wrote:

I was contacted by a person from Linguistics Theory yesterday on Skype. She said she's a project manager of Linguistics Theory and sent me their website link. The claimed project manager asked for my CV yesterday.
I just searched and find out Linguistics Theory is listed as a scammer in http://www.translator-scammers.com/#n73. What do they need my CV for? They didn't ask me for anything else.
Thanks Robin for the sharing.

[Edited at 2015-10-08 07:18 GMT]


Thanks for all the helpful answers!

I am not sure why they steal CVs. To win tenders by saying they have more qualified translators than they actually have?


 

Enrique Cavalitto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:56
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
A solid risk-management procedure Oct 8, 2015

The linguistic criteria for detecting scammers are useful hints but they are far from failproof. A solid risk-management to follow when you receive a business proposal from a stranger would involve:
  • If it does not make sense, feels weird, is is below your rates, etc., simply dismiss.

  • If it could be interesting, ask for verifiable contact information.

  • Once you receive verifiable contact information, check it until you are sure you know who you are dealing with.

  • After that, check payment practices and other information (for instance in the ProZ.com Blue Board).


As stated above, you can find more information, and members can subscribe to our alert reports, visiting the Scam alert center.

Kind regards,
Enrique Cavalitto


 

xxxDorothyX
France
Local time: 03:56
No, to apply instead of other translators Oct 8, 2015

Robin Joensuu wrote:

I am not sure why they steal CVs. To win tenders by saying they have more qualified translators than they actually have?


They steal CVs, replace telephone numbers and mail adresses and then apply instead of the real translators.

Clients are thinking they are confronted with the real high profile translators.
The files are translated. With GT or a cheap translator.
And then the money is wired to the wrong bank account.


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:56
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Red Flags? Oct 9, 2015

"hotmail or gmail address (because real companies have real mailboxes)"

I have seen this message many times now: 'Look out for gmail users!"

I don't know about hotmail, but I have a gmail account under my own (3) domains and name (for which I pay my provider). Does that make me a scammer, a 'not-professional' or an 'unreal company'?

When I started, back in 2003, I used Outlook, but the disadvantage there was that I only could open the mails on my own computer. Now with gmail, I can open my mails anywhere in the world, and on my smartphone. I am sure there are much better systems, but for me gmail works as a charm.

What is the problem here? Because it is free, all its users are 'not thrustworthy'?





[Edited at 2015-10-09 16:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-10-09 20:22 GMT]


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:56
German to English
Combination = red flags Oct 9, 2015

It used to be that a potential scammer could be identified by the lack of a web site, but recent events have shown that sophisticated scammers are willing to put some effort into the game.

The criteria presented so far for identifying a scammer are all valid – in combination. Due to technical reasons I have had to resort to using a Gmail account to contact clients and colleagues, just as Mr. Rietvelt reports. I have been contacted by legitimate PMs whose English has been substandard, or have used the formulation "My name is xxx from ZZZ translations. How are you today?" Likewise, typos are not necessarily a dead giveaway. There are a lot of well-intentioned – and honest – amateurs trying to run a translation business who unfortunately come across as shady characters.

However a combination of suspicious signs should give one pause.


 
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