“Handersonn Jones”
Thread poster: Robert Forstag

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 9, 2018

Someone using this name contacted me about an hour ago inviting me to chat about a “translation for a presentation I need to make in 2 weeks.” He quickly agreed to upfront payment at more than double the usual rate for such work, and then gave me an incoherent story about needing to get back to Texas and looking for a job.

There is zero chance that this person and offer are legit. Others have recently reported scams with the same “presentation in 2 weeks” pretext.

... See more
Someone using this name contacted me about an hour ago inviting me to chat about a “translation for a presentation I need to make in 2 weeks.” He quickly agreed to upfront payment at more than double the usual rate for such work, and then gave me an incoherent story about needing to get back to Texas and looking for a job.

There is zero chance that this person and offer are legit. Others have recently reported scams with the same “presentation in 2 weeks” pretext.

It is unacceptable that this site does not have safeguards to prevent scammers like this from, first, setting up profiles on the site, and secondly, directly contacting translators immediately after doing so.

[Edited at 2018-10-09 14:04 GMT]
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Mirko Mainardi
Yvonne Gallagher
Elif Baykara Narbay
Teresa Borges
Jean-Yves Préault
 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:25
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
Scams are everywhere! Oct 9, 2018

Robert: I'm quite new to this site and I'm struck by the amount of scams in the translation world that are being reported here and elsewhere. It makes me dizzy to read about all the various ploys unscrupulous/desperate people are trying to use here. The other day either here (or on Translators Cafe) there was a post from a woman who also received what she thought MIGHT be a scam. The efforts she was going to, to try and figure out if this was a "legit" agency/company were incredible. She was loo... See more
Robert: I'm quite new to this site and I'm struck by the amount of scams in the translation world that are being reported here and elsewhere. It makes me dizzy to read about all the various ploys unscrupulous/desperate people are trying to use here. The other day either here (or on Translators Cafe) there was a post from a woman who also received what she thought MIGHT be a scam. The efforts she was going to, to try and figure out if this was a "legit" agency/company were incredible. She was looking at the addressing, finding a Google satellite map of the address and then people were weighing in on how to read and not read Google maps. I thought to myself: Mon Dieu! But, having meandered a bit, here's my point, which I think has relevance particularly for people living in the U.S. like you and I: The numbers of people trying scams IN GENERAL and getting away with them (more disturbing) are way up, particularly here. I was recently going through some bills (rent, car repairs, etc.) with a fine tooth comb and was amazed: apartment rental companies now bill you to bill you! (They outsource the billing for a bill, sewage, etc. and then charge a fee to you, the consumer, to pay for what for them was a new revenue stream (i.e. they determined it was more cost effective to outsource this sewage/garbage billing rather than handle it themselves). On top of this, the consumer/renter gets hit with the cost of their new savings plan. Don't get me started on car repairs. Anyway, my point is that the world of scams is everywhere, and for sure has seen an "uptick" in recent years. I could probably try to write an article on why the world of translating has been particularly vulnerable to these types of scams, but it would't do any good in terms of stopping the scammers, and I'm sure others on this site are much more knowledgeable about this than I am.

I guess the only remedy is to be super-aware of what's going on and share as much info/tips as possible. This site seems pretty good at facilitating this.
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Tina Vonhof
Patrice
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
German to English
Not feasible for Proz to perform due diligence Oct 9, 2018

Robert Forstag wrote:

It is unacceptable that this site does not have safeguards to prevent scammers like this from, first, setting up profiles on the site, and secondly, directly contacting translators immediately after doing so.

[Edited at 2018-10-09 14:03 GMT]


Given the number of profiles, Proz would need several full-time investigators to assess potential clients or scammers. I can't think of any effective measures to screen potential job offers that don't involve considerable effort. Charging a fee to create a profile would create a members-only network which would greatly restrict the growth of the site. What safeguards would you propose?


Tina Vonhof
 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some ideas Oct 9, 2018

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Robert Forstag wrote:

It is unacceptable that this site does not have safeguards to prevent scammers like this from, first, setting up profiles on the site, and secondly, directly contacting translators immediately after doing so.

[Edited at 2018-10-09 14:03 GMT]


Given the number of profiles, Proz would need several full-time investigators to assess potential clients or scammers. I can't think of any effective measures to screen potential job offers that don't involve considerable effort. Charging a fee to create a profile would create a members-only network which would greatly restrict the growth of the site. What safeguards would you propose?


I do not accept that this site is chained by dumb necessity to create a situation that allows the kinds of things to happen that I have reported today.

Here are a couple of ideas that I would propose in the way of prevention:

1.
Create a system that checks reported location against actual location. Thus, if someone creating a profile enters “Austin, Texas” as a location, but has an IP address indicating that the profile was set up in, say, “Lagos, Nigeria,” the system should not allow such a profile to be created.
2.
Either (a.) limit the “Live Chat” option to paying and/or verified members, or (b.) impose a 30-day waiting period after a non-paying member creates a profile before that profile can access the “Live Chat” option.

These are just a couple of ideas off the top of my head, and involve automated flagging and preventive measures. No need to create a department with dedicated staff to deal with such issues.

And I am not even a “tech person.”





[Edited at 2018-10-10 12:09 GMT]


Elif Baykara Narbay
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:25
Member
English to Italian
Extend the "securepro" thingie to outsourcers/clients, for instance... Oct 9, 2018

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Robert Forstag wrote:

It is unacceptable that this site does not have safeguards to prevent scammers like this from, first, setting up profiles on the site, and secondly, directly contacting translators immediately after doing so.

[Edited at 2018-10-09 14:03 GMT]


Given the number of profiles, Proz would need several full-time investigators to assess potential clients or scammers. I can't think of any effective measures to screen potential job offers that don't involve considerable effort. Charging a fee to create a profile would create a members-only network which would greatly restrict the growth of the site. What safeguards would you propose?


And how many translators' profiles are there? Yet measures like identity, phone number and home address verification have been implemented. The paradox is that they're aimed at protecting and reassuring clients, not us.

Commercial clients could also provide proof of registration of their businesses, membership in associations, etc.

And I guess some of those checks could be largely automated (e.g. pay 2 cents to verify your identity by debit card or wire) or however use the facilities that are already in place.

[Edited at 2018-10-10 06:15 GMT]


Robert Forstag
Patrice
 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Colleen Oct 9, 2018

Mon Dieu indeed!

It is all enough for even the crustiest skeptic to throw up his hands in despair, and implore direct intervention from on high to stop the insanity....

My point is not that I expect proz.com (or anyone else) to provide complete immunization against efforts to defraud me, but to ask that it do all that it can reasonably do in order to minimize my exposure to scams that are set in motion via its website.

I think that this is reasonable.
... See more
Mon Dieu indeed!

It is all enough for even the crustiest skeptic to throw up his hands in despair, and implore direct intervention from on high to stop the insanity....

My point is not that I expect proz.com (or anyone else) to provide complete immunization against efforts to defraud me, but to ask that it do all that it can reasonably do in order to minimize my exposure to scams that are set in motion via its website.

I think that this is reasonable.

[Edited at 2018-10-09 17:16 GMT]
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Mirko Mainardi
Tina Vonhof
Vi Pukite
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:25
Member
English to Italian
Education Oct 10, 2018

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Commercial clients could also provide proof of registration of their businesses, membership in associations, etc.

And I guess some of those checks could be largely automated (e.g. pay 2 cents to verify your identity by debit card or wire) or however use the facilities that are already in place.


Another very feasible suggestion to complement the above: when a user signs up (as client/outsourcer, or in general) present them with a (possibly unobtrusive) walkthrough explaining them how verifying their account/identity is important (or IMO, even better, mandatory) as a (mutual) protection measure, because scams are so widespread in this field and a very real threat.


 


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