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Does this sound like a legitimate inquiry?
Thread poster: Colleen Roach, PhD

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:42
Member (2019)
French to English
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Katarzyna: "Good Day" greeting not in my email Nov 22, 2018

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

"Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:

1st email:
"Good day ,

You really could have stopped reading just here and hit Delete. I have seen "Good Day" as a greeting ONLY in scam emails."

The "Good Day" greeting you question was not in the email I received proposing a possible job. It was in the email that Walter (from Uruguay) received. I asked him to let me know what his email said to determine if it was possibly the same
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Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

"Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:

1st email:
"Good day ,

You really could have stopped reading just here and hit Delete. I have seen "Good Day" as a greeting ONLY in scam emails."

The "Good Day" greeting you question was not in the email I received proposing a possible job. It was in the email that Walter (from Uruguay) received. I asked him to let me know what his email said to determine if it was possibly the same person.

In my case, I would not necessarily assume that if I received an email with a "Good Day" greeting, it was from a scam-artist. Non-native speakers of a language can sometimes use a formality that is not always warranted by a situation. And this formality would not always be used by a native speaker. In the US, in certain workplaces (usually public bureaucracies) it is not at all uncommon for someone to write an email to the president/CEO of an organization which begins in this fashion: "Good afternoon, President Reindeer." I myself have been on the receiving end of such emails even when my status (i.e. an outsider communicating with someone in a public bureaucracy) would in my opinion not warrant this degree of formality. I don't think "Good day" is a common greeting in the US, but it could be in other English-speaking countries (in formal situations). It could also be that someone writing a letter of inquiry in another language simply isn't sure how to address someone. This ambiguity can even arise between two native speakers of a language, but where there is a power differential, i.e. one of the speakers is in a job interview. I used to coach students applying for jobs, and I would give this advice: "When in doubt, err on the side of formality, and not informality."
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Michele Fauble
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:42
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English to Afrikaans
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@Katarzyna Nov 22, 2018

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:
Looks like you really can't wait to learn hard way how to lose money on PayPal, can you...


Care to elaborate (or give a URL that explains it)?


Colleen Roach, PhD
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
PayPal Nov 22, 2018

Samuel Murray wrote:

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:
Looks like you really can't wait to learn hard way how to lose money on PayPal, can you...


Care to elaborate (or give a URL that explains it)?



I can't speak for Katarzyna, but I can speak from experience. You may think PayPal is a safe way to get paid, as they once pretended, but it isn't. If the payment is somehow fraudulent, PayPal will issue a chargeback, i.e. they will take the money back out of your account and charge you a fee in addition to having become a fraud victim. This could happen for example two weeks after you have provided the service or refunded the client through another method. Someone could have used a stolen credit card number to pay you, or they could have hacked an account. Although PayPal aim to detect fraud, they don't catch all of it, and when they overlook it, you pay for it.

PS: you could also read www.paypalwarning.com to find out how people are scammed on PayPal.

[Edited at 2018-11-22 20:08 GMT]


Katarzyna Slowikova
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:42
Member (2006)
French to English
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Ask for more information Nov 22, 2018

Is the person who emailed you the author of the thesis? Why do they need it translated? Where will it be presented? If it's 90,000 words, and they are a student, what is the source of the funds they'll pay you from? Can they provide any proof of their identity? I always check the address on Google Steet View and (for a company) if it looks like a mailing address I refuse the job.

I never accept an advance payment. If accepting a large translation from a new client, I always do the w
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Is the person who emailed you the author of the thesis? Why do they need it translated? Where will it be presented? If it's 90,000 words, and they are a student, what is the source of the funds they'll pay you from? Can they provide any proof of their identity? I always check the address on Google Steet View and (for a company) if it looks like a mailing address I refuse the job.

I never accept an advance payment. If accepting a large translation from a new client, I always do the work in phases so that I have to have cleared funds from them for a first instalment of a value of less than either €200 or €300, depending on how confident I am about them, before I start on the next instalment. That means I have their bank details (I don't accept PayPal) and also gives them the chance to see my work before agreeing to proceed further and to discuss any points that they want to.

I'd rather lose work than get scammed and would probably never have exchanged emails with that person given their initial approach. Perhaps you are right to be more trusting; I hope so.

[Edited at 2018-11-22 23:15 GMT]

https://www.quora.com/Do-students-cheat-on-their-PhD-thesis
It is possible to pay someone better than you to write the thesis, including ... Sometimes, material is translated from a foreign language and presented as original. ...

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/hungary/9044654/Hungary-president-accused-of-plagiarising-doctoral-thesis.html
"The president of Hungary has come under investigation following allegations that he plagiarised most of his doctoral thesis.
... News magazine HVG alleges that 90 per cent of Pal Schmitt's 215-page dissertation from 1992 was almost a direct translation of a work written by Nikolay Georgiev, a now deceased Bulgarian sport historian, in 1987. "

[Edited at 2018-11-22 23:25 GMT]
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Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:42
English to Czech
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The longest reply I've ever written here Nov 23, 2018

Colleen Roach, Ph.D. wrote:

The "Good Day" greeting you question was not in the email I received proposing a possible job. It was in the email that Walter (from Uruguay) received. I asked him to let me know what his email said to determine if it was possibly the same person.


Ok, so take it as referring to Walter. It's still a generally valid red flag imho.


In my case, I would not necessarily assume that if I received an email with a "Good Day" greeting, it was from a scam-artist. Non-native speakers of a language can sometimes use a formality that is not always warranted by a situation.



I have just talked from my own experience, having read plenty of those scam emails. Let's not get distracted by non-native speakers using weird salutations in emails, we're talking about a very specific situation: a possible client contacting a translator. How often do you get legitimate job requests from private individuals nowadays?? For me, it's been maybe 1% in all the years, 99% are coming from companies, which (at least here in Europe) are much more easy to check then private persons (VAT).

So just for this reason alone, a job request coming from a private person warrants suspicions from the very beginning. If, in addition, it comes from a "non-registered ProZ.com user" or an address [name][number]@gmail/hotmail.com (which should be the 1st thing you pay attention to!), the likelihood of scam, in my private estimation, jumps up to 98%. If it begins with "good day", it's on the same level. If all the 3 factors combine (private person + silly email address + "good day"), it's 1000% scam and you don't even have to read it, unless it's your weird idea of entertainment (google James Veitch, if you want to know what I mean).

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

I can't speak for Katarzyna, but I can speak from experience. You may think PayPal is a safe way to get paid, as they once pretended, but it isn't. If the payment is somehow fraudulent, PayPal will issue a chargeback,


Thanks Thomas, that's almost exactly what I meant.
In fact, afaik, there doesn't even have to be a suspicion of fraud, a claim by the buyer to have never received the product/services is enough. He/she withdraws the already made payment and the seller finds him/herself owing the amount to PayPal. This scam relies on something called "buyer protection" and has some fancy name which I forgot and which upon googling turns back tons of crying PayPal sellers who've been scammed this way. (Kingdom and half the princess to anybody who finds it out for me... I've tried many times with no success.)

But of course, there're myriads of other PayPal scams, the info is just one google search away, Samuel.

The bottom line is, a bank wire still seems to be the safest available way of receiving money and afaik, your invoicing details alone (your name, IBAN and BIC) can't be used to harm you without your active collaboration (like for money laundering and phishing).

[Edited at 2018-11-23 02:31 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:42
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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@Katarzyna Nov 23, 2018

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:
But of course, there're myriads of other PayPal scams, the info is just one google search away, Samuel.


Of course, but I was curious about the specific scam you were talking about, and not the "myriads of other PayPal scams".


 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:42
Member (2019)
French to English
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Katarzyna: Thanks for long reply Nov 23, 2018

Katarzyna:Thank you for taking the time for your long reply --at least I've helped you to set a record! Yes, I think you're no doubt right that a bank wire transfer is the way to go. A while ago, I went into my bank and they actually agreed with this. It just seems that so many people are still using PayPal, in spite of the problems. I've read stories also of people being scammed on sites like e-bay: they mail the item, the buyer pays but claims he/she never received the item. PayPal is pro-buy... See more
Katarzyna:Thank you for taking the time for your long reply --at least I've helped you to set a record! Yes, I think you're no doubt right that a bank wire transfer is the way to go. A while ago, I went into my bank and they actually agreed with this. It just seems that so many people are still using PayPal, in spite of the problems. I've read stories also of people being scammed on sites like e-bay: they mail the item, the buyer pays but claims he/she never received the item. PayPal is pro-buyer so they refund the buyer's money and take it back from the account of the seller, who has lost both the money and the item "sold." And yes, being contacted by an individual for a job (as opposed to a company or an agency) has lots of risk built into any possible transaction. Lots of red flags. Regards, ColleenCollapse


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:42
Member (2006)
French to English
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Some further developments Nov 24, 2018

Colleen emailed me asking for some advice off this forum, which I gave her. It basically boiled down to triple checking the ID of the person who had contacted her and not wasting time on anything else to do with the request for translation until she was absolutely convinced the person was genuine.

She has now emailed me to say that a Thai translator has emailed her to say they received practically the same email approach and follow up, even down to the lower-case "i" and was less c
... See more
Colleen emailed me asking for some advice off this forum, which I gave her. It basically boiled down to triple checking the ID of the person who had contacted her and not wasting time on anything else to do with the request for translation until she was absolutely convinced the person was genuine.

She has now emailed me to say that a Thai translator has emailed her to say they received practically the same email approach and follow up, even down to the lower-case "i" and was less cautious and now has had a large amount of money transferred into their account "by mistake" and please could they send it back. I told Colleen that, off the top of my head, what I’d do in that situation is tell my bank straight away and ask them if they could either refuse the transfer or suggest what to do (perhaps they could put the money in a holding account so that I didn’t personally have access to it). If the bank agreed to step in with a solution, then I’d leave the rest to them so long as they agreed not to do anything that I could be held responsible for. If the (fake) funds stayed in my account, I’d want to ensure that they were untouched for as long as it took (years if necessary) for it to be ascertained whether any part of the money was definitely genuine, cleared and could be safely returned. I’d also report it to the police and the tax authorities (so I didn’t get charged tax on it as income). It’s unlikely that a return of the money would ever be safe.

As at least one person has, apparently, been scammed, it might be useful if people would comment on the above and correct anything they think is wrong with my suggestion.
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Thomas T. Frost
Colleen Roach, PhD
Katarzyna Slowikova
 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:42
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More further developments... Nov 25, 2018

The Thai translator did, in fact, contact his/her bank to see if the wire transfer can just be refused, and is waiting to find out the answer to this. Thanks to B Finch for this suggestion. The Thai translator also tracked down the IP address to Florida. But I'm not sure what that means: I think that an IP address does not necessarily indicate where you live. I believe these scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics. I think both myself and the Thai translator were targeted first... See more
The Thai translator did, in fact, contact his/her bank to see if the wire transfer can just be refused, and is waiting to find out the answer to this. Thanks to B Finch for this suggestion. The Thai translator also tracked down the IP address to Florida. But I'm not sure what that means: I think that an IP address does not necessarily indicate where you live. I believe these scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics. I think both myself and the Thai translator were targeted first and foremost because we have worked in academia and so the scammer "tailored" the scam-message to us. (Plus, we are both "newbies" on PROZ; people who have been on this site for much longer would have reacted differently, I believe). I could see, down the road, that scammers may be more sophisticated in their scams. Instead of sending out "generic" emails to lots of people, they could, for example, use the search engine on PROZ to find translators who specialize in biology or computers, for example, and then send out a message saying they have an important, "breakthrough" article in biology, or IT to be translated. Too bad so much time has to be spent on these things, but, sadly, that's the reality of our profession nowadays...Collapse


Katarzyna Slowikova
 

IanDhu  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:42
Member (2005)
French to English


Posted via
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I've seen this before Dec 2, 2018

The first wrong note in the e-mail to the asker is the lack of quantitative information: word- or page-count and deadline as a minimum. After wasting my time conscientiously answering such requests, I would advise ignoring them, as advised by others here.

The main guideline with rubbishy offers is to look out for anything unprofessional or out of the ordinary..

I hope this helps.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren,
(IanDhu - translator 41
... See more
The first wrong note in the e-mail to the asker is the lack of quantitative information: word- or page-count and deadline as a minimum. After wasting my time conscientiously answering such requests, I would advise ignoring them, as advised by others here.

The main guideline with rubbishy offers is to look out for anything unprofessional or out of the ordinary..

I hope this helps.

With kind regards,

Adam Warren,
(IanDhu - translator 41189)
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Walter Landesman
Colleen Roach, PhD
 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:42
English to Czech
+ ...
This is getting interesting... Dec 2, 2018

Thanks for the updates, B D Finch and Colleen, and if you find out how it ended, please do write it here! I'm curious if it's possible to refuse a transfer or what is actually done in such cases.

 
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