Scam - Help
Thread poster: Jacqueline Burke

Jacqueline Burke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:11
English to German
+ ...
Sep 1, 2016

I got the following email from somebody called Desmond O'Rourke (


I have 2 documents for translation from English to German. If you are available for the same, please write to me.
Project Duration: 6 weeks

With Regards,
Desmond O'Rourke
187 Carlton Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11205

I just started out as a freelance translator and wasn't aware that scams like this even existed. I agreed to translate the documents and I also sent him my CV. He told me that he already sent me the check.

Since everything seemed to be a little weird, I did some research and found out that the email address he used is on the scam list.

What am I supposed to do now?

Thank you for your help.


Elif Baykara Narbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:11
German to Turkish
+ ...
Ignore the check. Sep 1, 2016

This is what I have read in these forums. As long as you ignore the check, you won't face any problems I guess.


Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
English to Italian
+ ...
@Jacqueline Sep 1, 2016

I am sorry to hear about this... I consider myself a very honest person and I really can't understand why someone would harm other people just for money:(

I would also check in the following weeks/months that he did not use your CV info (you can verify on Translator Scammers Directory) and obviously ignore the check, it seems the old scam of sending a check with a bigger amount and getting a request to have the residual money back, ending up with that check being not valid:(

I can assure you that you will find many clients that really need your services, so keep up the good work!



Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Local time: 00:11
Member (2016)
English to German
Maybe the police? Sep 1, 2016

It seems that you realized the scam early enough, so that no big damage is done, except your disillusionment ... However, maybe it would be a good idea to give the check and all evidence to the police, so that they can investigate the check scammer. Would be nice if one of them could be caught some day.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:11
Member (2007)
+ ...
The old learning curve, I'm afraid Sep 1, 2016

Jacqueline Burke wrote:
I just started out as a freelance translator and wasn't aware that scams like this even existed. I agreed to translate the documents and I also sent him my CV. He told me that he already sent me the check.

It isn't 100% clear to me whether you spent any time on this. Hopefully you didn't do and deliver the translation, but I'm afraid that if you did then it's time wasted icon_frown.gif. Still, it could have been a whole lot worse. You could have presented the cheque to your bank and, before getting notice that it had cleared successfully, sent back a real cheque for the balance of the overpayment. In that scenario, not only do you waste your time but you also end up out of pocket, often to the tune of several hundred or even thousand dollars. There is also the possibility of getting into trouble with the police (harsh though that seems) for attempting to cash a dud cheque icon_eek.gif. That did happen to someone here, although they weren't actually fined if I remember rightly.

Fortunately, it isn't something you're likely to fall for a second time - at least, not for an identical scam. We all have to be hyper-vigilant so minimise future risk by:
- signing up for scam alerts:
- checking out the scam centre and alerting staff to all scams you encounter:
- checking potential clients against listings such as:
- doing Google searches for the email address, contact name and company name, plus the word "scam" before starting work
- following all the other advice in the Risk Management Wikis:

PS: I hope you enjoyed your time here in Fuerteventura icon_smile.gif.


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:11
German to English
Common sense Sep 1, 2016

Didn't it seem a little odd that a prospective customer would send you documents to translate before seeing your CV?

Translators seem to forget that they're first and foremost business people – whose business happens to be translation. Part of running a business, no matter the focus, is risk management, which entails due diligence. By agreeing to take on an engagement, you are in effect extending credit to the customer. You really don't want to extend credit to a stranger without checking the individual out, correct?.

In all likelihood, the next step in the scam will be a check well in excess of the agreed amount, with a request to send the balance, minus a little extra for your inconvenience, to a third party via Western Union, money order or some other agency.

Such scams are not limited to translators, but since this profession appears to contain a large pool of the clueless, it is especially vulnerable to exploitation.


Jacqueline Burke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:11
English to German
+ ...
Thank you... Sep 1, 2016

... all for your comments.

@ Kay-Viktor: I am definitely thinking about contacting the police and giving them the check once it gets here.

@ Sheila: Thank you for all the links. I started to translate a little bit, but "luckily" I got sick and couldn't do more. PS: And I loved it there!icon_smile.gif

@ Kevin: He asked about my rates, CV etc. first before he sent me the documents. And I always do research on the person/agency first, but he has a profile here on Proz so at first I thought it would be legit. I would not consider myself to be clueless, I just wasn't aware that scams like that existed (I just moved to the States and things like that are not that common where I come from), that's the reason why I did all the research.

I also think that it is especially difficult for people who are just starting out, I'm sure everybody made mistakes in the beginning. You just can't know everything about everything right from the start, but you learn from your mistakes.


Natalie  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Support request Sep 1, 2016

Jacqueline Burke wrote:

... but he has a profile here on Proz so at first I thought it would be legit

Hi Jacqueline,

Have you submitted a support request to the site staff?
If not, please do this asap.



Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:11
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Contact the real Desmond O'Rourke here on Proz. Sep 1, 2016

And inform him that someone is using his profile or name for scamming!



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