Scam or not scam?
Thread poster: Roberto Popolizio

Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 10:08
English to Italian
Oct 12, 2016

Hi,

I received a proposal fro an ongoing translation job and I am not quite sure if it is a scam or not.
Here is what they asked me to do:

1) Open a Payment Hub account (where I actually don't have to put any personal detail and no need to add my bank account as with Paypal).

2) Purchase the package on the following website with money that they send me on the Payment Hub account.

http://www.b2cmarketingtech.com/home.php

I tried to open the account to see what happens and they actually have sent the money that I'd need in order to buy the package of email marketing tools.

3) After I'm ready with the tools, start a training with them to learn how to use the programs and get on translating.


When there's money involved beforehand I always assume it is a scam, but in this case they actually gave me the funds.
What do you guys think?


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 10:08
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Update Oct 13, 2016

I also tried to send an email to the company where he should be working, which happens to be one of the biggest human resources firm in the world. I'll see what they tell me about this guy.
Moreover, the website with the programs to be purchased using his money accepts Western Union transfers only, which means that I have to withdraw the amount received from him on my bank account (so I'd have to give the bank details to Payments Hub).


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It sounds very, very suspect Oct 14, 2016

How did you get the job? Companies like that don't normally contact freelancers directly.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Stay clear Oct 15, 2016

Your provide a service for payment. So anybody who wants you to buy something first, even if they give you the money to do so, for a vague promise of receiving work in... whenever - if ever, sounds quite dubious. My question is, why would you need an email marketing tool if they really only want you to translate?

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very suspicious! Oct 15, 2016

Why don't the company buy the software and simply send you a license code? To twisted minds like mine, this way of sending money out of a company to providers you do not really work with would look like embezzlement.

Personally I would not touch it with a barge pole. This is not a normal business relationship whereby you do a job and get paid, and abnormal procedures are usually not a good sign.

[Edited at 2016-10-15 07:33 GMT]


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
Polish to Czech
+ ...
One possibility how it could work as a scam Oct 15, 2016

I certainly agree with the doubts my predecessors raised.
What were you actually supposed to translate? Those marketing programs? If not, why would you need them to do your translation?
It certainly smells fishy like hell... the only thing I can think of how this would work as a scam is that it's actually this company who is selling those "marketing tools" (whatever they are) and that once you buy them, they'll withdraw the money they sent you through this Payment Hub thing. Now, I know nothing about this service but PayPal has this kind on buyer protection which is gift for scammers and which allows a buyer to cancel a wire, if they claim they didn't receive the item (even if they did). The money is then repayed to them by PayPal. This is very known scam, it has some fancy name which I don't remember now, maybe somebody here will know. Afaik, it's popular in online casinos, where you buy some vouchers to play or subscription or whatever they call it.
So in this way you'd end up sending your own money to them for something that would most likely be a pile of rubbish. In this case, the guy who emailed you wouldn't probably be from the big HR company you mentioned. I'd be very interested what was the company's answer.
Also, is it possible to cancel a payment done by Western Union check? If not, that could be an explanation why it's the only accepted payment... Afaik, in a bank, you can cancel a wire (if you say the receiver is a fraudster), same for PayPal.
Just an idea, I'd be curious if somebody has a different explanation...

[Edited at 2016-10-15 09:01 GMT]


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 10:08
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Here we are Oct 15, 2016

As expected by the most of you, including myself, it wasn't anything legit.
The guy pretended to be working for Adecco, which I contacted and denied his presence among their ranks.
Just for the sake of completeness, the marketing tools were needed to market the translated material. Still, I don't understand how could they profit from this: they send me their own money in order to buy those tools. Maybe the scam happens at a further stage?
Obviously the guy didn't even try to answer when I sent the money back and told him that I had checked on him.

Anyway, it was a curious new kind of scam for me, don't know if you more experienced guys ave ever seen something like this. Here are the details used by the scammer to introduce himself:

HalvarKarin
AdeccoGroupAG
Sägereistrasse10
CH-8152 Glattbrugg
Switzerland
www.adecco.com


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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
Polish to Czech
+ ...
Not the best idea... Oct 15, 2016

Roberto Popolizio wrote:


... when I sent the money back ...




I'm afraid this might have not been the smartest thing to do... If you can cancel the wire, I'd do this, if I were you.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Definitely cancel if you can Oct 15, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:
Roberto Popolizio wrote:
... when I sent the money back ...


I'm afraid this might have not been the smartest thing to do... If you can cancel the wire, I'd do this, if I were you.

They sent you money, but is that money really yours, to keep? This is a scam, remember. They're only doing it to make money. It has absolutely nothing to do with translation and everything to do with taking money from you.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:08
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Money laundering? Oct 16, 2016

Roberto Popolizio wrote:
Obviously the guy didn't even try to answer when I sent the money back and told him that I had checked on him.

By what means did you send the money back? If the method of returning the money was different from the method you received the money through, you might have participated in money laundering and you could end up investigated by the police.

PLEASE, PLEASE, people: whenever you are proposed anything that is not as simple as doing a job and getting paid by a bank wire or Paypal, simply refuse!


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 10:08
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
ok ok Oct 16, 2016

As said, I received the money on this Payments Hub from an unrecognised sender (no contract signed, nothing) so I'm not liable of any inquiry.
I'm now thinking if the guy is simply trying to boost the sales of these tools (like singers who buy their own albums to get on a higher position in the hits charts).
Anyway, everything is ended with a big nothing and couldn't be any different. Just keep in mind his name and the websites mentioned. I just wanted to check what you guys know about this kind of scam that I'd never seen before and help the others know about another time waster on the net.

Cheers


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:08
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Be careful Oct 16, 2016

Roberto Popolizio wrote:

Obviously the guy didn't even try to answer when I sent the money back and told him that I had checked on him.


Since the money was sent to an account that you had to open first - that is, to none of your existing accounts - as soon as you established it, you hopefully returned the money via that new account. Any other means of returning it could easily be considered a criminal deed.

You could have also ignored the money and then cancelled the new account. When you cancel an account, you will be asked what you want to do with any money in that account. The answer is simply, return to sender.

[Edited at 2016-10-16 12:16 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very unlikely to be a time-waster Oct 16, 2016

Roberto Popolizio wrote:
As said, I received the money on this Payments Hub from an unrecognised sender (no contract signed, nothing) so I'm not liable of any inquiry.

You'd think that would be true. But unfortunately it isn't. Money laundering is a criminal activity. The police, the courts etc don't expect there to be a contract! If you've done it; you're guilty of it.
I'm now thinking if the guy is simply trying to boost the sales of these tools (like singers who buy their own albums to get on a higher position in the hits charts).

I don't think that's done this way, by sending money to a total stranger and expecting them to send money anywhere. No, that's a classic scam, I'm afraid.

Fortunately, you're very unlikely to hear any more about it, so put it down to experience.

I imagine you've clicked on the link above the posts to the ProZ.com scam centre? If I were you, I'd sign up to the notifications. In fact I'd advise everyone to do that.


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 10:08
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
so, in the end... Oct 16, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:


I'm now thinking if the guy is simply trying to boost the sales of these tools (like singers who buy their own albums to get on a higher position in the hits charts).

I don't think that's done this way, by sending money to a total stranger and expecting them to send money anywhere. No, that's a classic scam, I'm afraid.

Fortunately, you're very unlikely to hear any more about it, so put it down to experience.

I imagine you've clicked on the link above the posts to the ProZ.com scam centre? If I were you, I'd sign up to the notifications. In fact I'd advise everyone to do that.


Sheila, by your experience which you guys have probably more than me, what kind of scam is this? You say it's a classic, but it's the first time I see it done this way. Where would it have ended?


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:08
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Money laundering or advance payment/overpayment scam are the likeliest Oct 17, 2016

Roberto Popolizio wrote:
Sheila, by your experience which you guys have probably more than me, what kind of scam is this? You say it's a classic, but it's the first time I see it done this way. Where would it have ended?

I have to say first that I'm not an expert in legal or financial matters. I've just been around a bit. Money laundering is one possibility, though probably not the most likely. The 'client' sends you 'dirty' money earned by illegal means. The money you send in return is issued from your perfectly legitimate business so it's nice and clean.

The actual scams come in many forms but all aim to get something from you apart from your translation skills. All the ones that have affected translators so far are detailed here:
http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Detecting_and_reacting_to_false_job_offers_and_other_scams
The "pay to work" scam should ring some bells, so should the Western Union one. The advance/over-payment ones are particularly rife at the moment and could well apply. I'm sure you'll find it fits one of them. If it doesn't, please alert ProZ.com so they can add this one to the list.


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