This sounds a bit fishy (cashier check or bank certified check proposed for payment)
Thread poster: Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI

Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:09
Member (2013)
German to English
May 27

On Friday, I got an e-mail from someone (gmail address) via TM-Town asking me to translate a document. Today the person e-mailed the document and said they are "proposing a cashier check or bank certified check for the payment". This sounds a bit fishy to me.

I intend to reply to her and ask a bit about herself, who she works for, what is the document for etc. I'll also insist on payment by bank transfer and split payment too, i.e. a third now, a third half way through the project and a third at the end.

I know it's not much to go on, but what do you think? Am I being a bit too cautious, or is it better to be careful about these things?


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:09
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends May 27

If this is a first-time contact, then I would, like you, inquire about that person, the job, the company/agency. Just a gmail address by itself is not a justification to expect scammers.

It also depends on the size of the project. If there is a lot of money involved, then a check might not be a good option.

If she is interested in doing sincere business with you, then she will answer your questions without hesitation. If she tries to avoid straight forward answers, then... you have your answer.icon_wink.gif


 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 07:09
Member (2005)
English to German
That's a whole school of fish May 27

Gmail and a check? That's as fishy as it gets.

Edit: Hi, Thayenga! Didn't see your post, we must have hit "send" at the same time.

[Edited at 2018-05-27 13:24 GMT]


 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:09
Member
French to English
+ ...
Probably a scam! May 27

Sounds fishy to me too!

You didn't say if it is in the same country as you or not? If it is foreign, then I can't see any reason at all to pay by cheque instead of a woire transfer.

Scammers often mention "bank" or "cashier" cheques, as people mistakenly imagine these are secure forms of payment — but they are not! If it subsequently transpires that the cheque was counterfeit, then the bank can recover the payment from you, even some months later.

If you now have the file, check the very end of it: I've had scammers send me random chunks from a larger document (book, etc.) which just stopped mid sentence — a clear sign of a scammer!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It does sound fishy! May 27

You’re not being too cautious. When establishing a business relationship with a new client, you have to do some due diligence before working for them, namely to identify and verify the person’s identity, legal status and the nature of his/hers business. Regarding payment, it’s up to you, not to the client, to determine your payment policies. My payment terms are 30 days net from date of invoice, exclusively by bank transfer (net of all bank charges). I don’t accept checks, PayPal or similar online payments. In any case, I wouldn't even consider taking a large job from a first-time client (unless it comes from a reputable international organization).

[Edited at 2018-05-27 14:02 GMT]


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
It has "scam" written all over it May 27

Gmail and certified cheque: this combination sounds like a classic scam.

Shortly after you receive the cheque, the 'client' will cancel the project because a distant aunt suddenly fell ill, and he needed the money for treatment (or something like that), so you will be asked to return the money by Western Union or another untraceable method.

Two to three weeks after you deposited the cheque, it will bounce, and the bank will debit the amount from your account.

Getting paid through PayPal is not secure either. If the payment is made with a stolen credit card (or other fraudulent method), PayPal will issue a chargeback, and the money will be gone. Plus a fee to PayPal.

[Edited at 2018-05-27 14:26 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:09
Member (2008)
Italian to English
ALways ask May 27

**Before beginning** any job for a new client, it's good practice to politely ask for the following information:

A. Their registered business address
B. Their VAT number

In the same email you should specify:

C. Your rate for the job
D. Payment by bank transfer only. Bank details will be given on the invoice.

If they don't respond to /accept A, B, C, or D, drop them.

[Edited at 2018-05-27 14:28 GMT]


 

Lian Pang  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:09
Member (Mar 2018)
English to Chinese
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Better safe than sorry May 27

Lots and lots of scammers use free email like gmail and hotmail. Just take a look at translator scammer directory. Be very very careful and always double check when you deal with clients that uses a free email domain .

If the client doesn't give proper & verifiable info of him/herself , or info about the project , I suggest you pass.

Frankly, I don't know what he or she is proposing . I have never encountered Checque payment. But if she or he is only proposing this, see if you can convince the client to switch to a payment method you are more comfortable with.

Trust your intuition . You can never be too cautious .


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 13:09
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Fishy? May 27

I would be shocked if it wasn't a scam.

 

Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:09
Member (2013)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
... May 28

Thanks everyone for your responses. It's always good to have your suspicions - even the bad ones - confirmed.

I've replied saying I'll accept the job and have given my fee for the project (significantly higher than my normal rate!) but I have insisted on payment by bank transfer and split payment.

I finish the e-mail with "I look forward to hearing from you." though, or course, I don't expect to at all! Let's see what happens.


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:09
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Sounds like a classic advance payment/overpayment scam May 28

I wouldn't touch it, but certainly go ahead and ask for details if you are interested in the job. In case you are not familiar with it, it's worth reading through the Proz scam alert descriptions to protect yourself. (I am also posting the following links for the benefit of other people reading this thread.)

https://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts

Another amazing resource to check is a very long list of known scammers painstakingly compiled by translators for translators:

http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-directory.htm


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
That's the spirit May 28

Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI wrote:

Thanks everyone for your responses. It's always good to have your suspicions - even the bad ones - confirmed.

I've replied saying I'll accept the job and have given my fee for the project (significantly higher than my normal rate!) but I have insisted on payment by bank transfer and split payment.

I finish the e-mail with "I look forward to hearing from you." though, or course, I don't expect to at all! Let's see what happens.


Give it a shot. Why not? Just as long as your back is covered.

I replied to something very similar recently and insisted on contact information. The other party kept insisting on pushing through with the job, so no go. If we had gotten to the verified contact information, then it would be payment up front, with higher rates. You did well there.

Of course, we all are 99% sure it is a scam. However, when I get inquiries from new and dodgy customers (not these scammers), I don't write them off out of hand. If they have a very low Blue Board rating, I'll still give them a chance. Some people just couldn't pay before and now are willing to do whatever it takes to get their reputation back. They will pay up front, then ask for a good rating later (which they will get).

In my experience, the new customers with a bad Blue Board rating will accept my strict conditions 1 out of 10 times. It can be worth it to try to reel in these fish.


 

Tatiana Dietrich
Local time: 02:09
SITE STAFF
Matching case reported and address blocked May 28

Hi Nick,

A case matching your description was reported to the TM-Town support center and the sender's email address, jub67541@gmail.com, was found in a scam alert repository.

The address has been blocked both from TM-Town and ProZ.com to prevent further abuse, and a scam alert report was added and emailed to subscribed members. If you'd like to subscribe to these reports, you can do it here.

Regards,

Tatiana


 

sbenner  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:09
Member (2012)
German to English
Well, I fell for it... Jun 14

I fell for Julie Brawn's scam in that I gave her my address and phone number.

I had quoted her a price of $920, specifying I would do 1/4 of the 40-page job and expect payment before proceeding with the rest.

Today, I received a check cut by College Board for almost $6,000, insisting I accept payment and cash the check before doing any work. She was tracking receipt of the package with the check and texted me as soon as it arrived, insisting I needed to deposit it right away while she needed to get final approval for the project from her "sponsors" before she sent me the work. It was that last bit which was odd, since she had already sent me a 44 page document which was the basis of my bid. I then googled her and came to this thread.

Needless to say, I'm not cashing the check. I wrote her and let her know that she's been pegged as a scammer here and elsewhere. Hopefully that's the end of that for me. If not, I have the check and the correspondence, not the government will do much about it.

[Edited at 2018-06-15 13:16 GMT]


 

RKharman
United States
julie brawn scam on TM-Town Jun 14

I am glad I saw this post!!! Julie Brawn just sent me a check for almost $5k that I have felt was fishy all along. I will NOT be depositing the check now. I felt it was too good to be true but I continued. I'm glad I checked one last time.

Good luck folks!

Richard


 


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