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Sofia Porte / Ann Broklyn - scam from new users claiming to be freelancers in France
Thread poster: Thomas T. Frost

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Oct 7

I have just received this email. Anyone else? It was sent to "ProZ.com Member" .


Hi!

How are you?
Hope you are doing well in this autumn day.

Do you want not urgent job for [source language 1]-[target language] and [source language 2]-[target language] languages?
Project will be started on October 9 or October 10 latest.

If yes, do not hesitate to contact me directly.
I will send more details as soon as possible.

P.s. Please be kindly informed, that we need both language pairs:
[source language 1]-[target language] and [source language 2]-[target language]. If you know both, you can get 2 projects!

Sincerely, Xxxxx Yyyyy


There is no trace of the name on the Translator Scammers site, but anyone can invent a fake name and create an email address.

There is obviously no Blue Board, as this is a brand new user.

The sender's Proz profile claims she is based in France.

Why I think this is a scam:

Registered on Proz: Oct. 2017.

No business address or registration number mentioned (every single professional or company in France must have a SIRET number).

No trace of the name in the French business register www.infogreffe.com .

No trace of anyone with her name related to translation or "traduction" in French on the Internet.

Uses just a simple Gmail address of the type firstnamelastname1234@gmail.com with no indication of a business name or professional activity.

No description in her Proz profile of what sort of services this so-called freelancer provides, except “Interpreting – Specializes in: Art, Arts & Crafts, Painting"; not even in which languages.

According to www.ipgeeks.org the email was sent from Engelsberg in Bavaria, Germany. But the sender's profile claim she is based in France.

No indication whatsoever about what the proposed projects are about.

No question about rates (scammers never care about rates, as they don't pay).

There is no proof this is a scam, but if it isn't, the sender clearly makes no effort to avoid being taken for a scammer.

I have reported it to Proz support, but they are closed over the weekend, so please be aware in the meantime.


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Ekaterina Kroumova  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
French to Bulgarian
+ ...
Same here Oct 7

I was just about to start a new thread when I saw yours. In my case the IP shows the sender is in Latvia. She claims to be French. Even if we assume her English is not very good, it doesn't sound as if a French person wrote it.

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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting Oct 7

Ekaterina Kroumova wrote:

I was just about to start a new thread when I saw yours. In my case the IP shows the sender is in Latvia. She claims to be French. Even if we assume her English is not very good, it doesn't sound as if a French person wrote it.


Interesting about the IP address. Maybe he or she uses the Tor Browser, which gives the user an IP address more or less randomly, so as to hide their real location.

I agree it does not sound like something a Frenchman wrote.

She claims to be an interpreter. I'm a translator. What sort of project would an interpreter outsource to a translator?


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Ekaterina Kroumova  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
French to Bulgarian
+ ...
Maybe the IP lookup provider messed it up Oct 7

Thomas, I checked with the IP lookup service you listed, and it confirms Germany. However with Melissadata and another provider (I don't remember which - found it on Google), the IP shows Riga.

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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Also Latvia when using Melissadata Oct 7

I also get a Latvian location when I use the site you suggested, so one of them is not up to date.

If a human IP geek is reading this, maybe they could tell us which IP lookup tool is most reliable.

I checked on www.domaintools.com, and they also say Latvia: Latvia Riga Latvian Mobile Telephone Co. So it's probably on a mobile network.

I issued a Tracert [IP address] command from the Windows command line. It passed through Frankfurt, then to a Swedish hub in Stockholm, then to a Latvian telecoms company, so I think you're right about Latvia.

I wouldn't touch this with a bargepole.

[Edited at 2017-10-07 19:24 GMT]


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:20
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Banned outsourcer from Latvia who keeps creating fake profiles Oct 7

Hi folks,

This is a banned outsourcer from Latvia who keeps creating fake profiles (a few more have been removed earlier today). The profile and the email address sofiaporte1709@gmail.com are now blocked and the profile is linked to the appropriate BB record so everybody can see who is who.

Natalia

[Edited at 2017-10-07 19:44 GMT]


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 7

Thanks for reacting so quickly, Natalie.

I turned down more than one proposal from them back in October 2015, when their Blue Board only had two bad entries, and no good ones. I can see they have scammed several colleagues since then.

The worst is that we have no effective means of stopping these thieves, except by individual vigilance, but there will always be some less experienced colleagues who will fall into such traps.


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mariealpilles  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:20
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
Sofia Porte - scam for new user Oct 8

I never read any further when an email starts with 'Hi' - we are supposed to be entering a business relationship, not friends meeting again, and when it goes on with 'I hope you are doing well....', it is further warning to me. Looking for a freelance translator does not mean any familiarity or social talk.

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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:20
Member
French to English
+ ...
Agree up to a point, but... Oct 8

mariealpilles wrote:

I never read any further when an email starts with 'Hi' - we are supposed to be entering a business relationship...


You're quite right that an inappropriate degree of informality can often be a sign of a scam; however, I wouldn't rely on that criterion alone to instantly dismiss an enquiry.

In modern English usage, it is not so uncommon to find relatively informal usage like this in such informal correspondence as e-mails, even in a business context! I'm not saying I approve, but the fact remains it does happen! There is a perhaps welcome trend to make business contacts more friendly, more human, and less stuffily formal than the commercial English of my youth.

It is also worth bearing in mind that non-native speakers of English often make mistakes of register of this kind, so that element needs to be taken into account too.

Reading on in the e-mail, you will always find plenty of other clues to wéarn you of a likely scam — and the golden rule is always "If in doubt, don't reply!"


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Scammers and grammar Oct 8

The common trait of ANY scammer who ever wrote to me (I've never been scammed in 23 years of career) is their poor grammar or writing style, expecially punctuation. There is no need to investigate further. It's enough to see how they write...

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Ekaterina Kroumova  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
French to Bulgarian
+ ...
French people?! Never! Oct 8

Tony M wrote:

It is also worth bearing in mind that non-native speakers of English often make mistakes of register of this kind, so that element needs to be taken into account too.


For someone claiming to be French, I'd rather say they'll be sticking more to the higher register, when it comes to a first-time contact.


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:20
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Same e-mail Oct 8

Dear Thomas,

I have just received the same e-mail.

I have laughed at 'If you know both, you can get 2 projects!' They know they can tantalize us with more than one project. This is a bit sad, too.


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:20
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks Oct 8

Natalie wrote:

Hi folks,

This is a banned outsourcer from Latvia who keeps creating fake profiles (a few more have been removed earlier today). The profile and the email address sofiaporte1709@gmail.com are now blocked and the profile is linked to the appropriate BB record so everybody can see who is who.

Natalia

[Edited at 2017-10-07 19:44 GMT]


Thanks Natalia! And thanks to Thomas too!


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:20
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Syllogism Oct 8

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

The common trait of ANY scammer who ever wrote to me (I've never been scammed in 23 years of career) is their poor grammar or writing style, expecially punctuation. There is no need to investigate further. It's enough to see how they write...


You say that every scammer that contacted you had poor writing skills, but IMO you can't really infer that everyone who writes ungrammatically is a scammer, although that definitely doesn't help to build confidence in them as business partners...

In the past I was discussing a prospective collaboration with an Eastern European client, with a perfect score on the BB and ready to pay my rates, but when they sent me their agreement to sign, and that too was written in poor English (AND contained clauses I did not agree with), I regretfully decided to drop it, although I am pretty sure they're not scammers...


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The eloquent scam artist is much more dangerous Oct 8

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

The common trait of ANY scammer who ever wrote to me (I've never been scammed in 23 years of career) is their poor grammar or writing style, expecially punctuation. There is no need to investigate further. It's enough to see how they write...


You say that every scammer that contacted you had poor writing skills, but IMO you can't really infer that everyone who writes ungrammatically is a scammer, although that definitely doesn't help to build confidence in them as business partners...

In the past I was discussing a prospective collaboration with an Eastern European client, with a perfect score on the BB and ready to pay my rates, but when they sent me their agreement to sign, and that too was written in poor English (AND contained clauses I did not agree with), I regretfully decided to drop it, although I am pretty sure they're not scammers...


I agree with Mirko that you cannot conclude anything on this basis alone. It’s better to look at all the elements. An outsourcer doesn’t necessarily speak all the languages they outsource, and even though the primary business language is English, it’s not necessary to turn down a proposal if the outsourcer’s poor grammar or style is the only problem, even though I admit it may demonstrate lack of experience.

If you filter by style or grammar alone, you may be at risk of being scammed by an eloquent scammer. Confidence tricksters do this by being smartly dressed – in hotels and restaurants for example – and well behaved. The eloquent scam artist is much more dangerous than the one with bad grammar.

The only time I’ve been scammed was when I worked in airport transfers and tourism many years ago. An eloquent French woman rang me up and booked a last-minute transfer over the phone, confirming by email. The PayPal payment was prompt. She spoke with confidence like any other French person in a business situation.

But the money disappeared ten days later when PayPal applied a chargeback. It must have been paid with a stolen credit card number. I finally got the money back from PayPal several months later after finding a hole in their business practices relative to banking regulations, but that’s another story.


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Sofia Porte / Ann Broklyn - scam from new users claiming to be freelancers in France

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