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Is this client legit or shady? Not sure if I should give my bank info out to them
Thread poster: Christina Fernandez

Christina Fernandez
United States
Local time: 06:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 29, 2018

A couple of days ago I got a request through my email for a fairly large project (261 pages to be exact). The client messaged me through my private email not through proz. I told them my quote, they accepted and asked for my bank information. This is what they sent:
My preferred mode of payment is to make a direct deposit to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details.
Full name
Bank Name
Bank Address
Account number
Routing number.

... See more
A couple of days ago I got a request through my email for a fairly large project (261 pages to be exact). The client messaged me through my private email not through proz. I told them my quote, they accepted and asked for my bank information. This is what they sent:
My preferred mode of payment is to make a direct deposit to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details.
Full name
Bank Name
Bank Address
Account number
Routing number.

I feel kind of wary about giving them all of that information, especially since they said they would pay me all at once even after I said they wpuld pay in installments. I asked if they had PayPal ad they said no, they would rather direct deposit or a check. I just started out freelancing so I'm not sure what the protocals are between freelance translators and their clients. Any thoughts?
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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 08:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
RED FLAG Nov 30, 2018

It looks like a scam to me. Do not provide that info.

Please read this thread:
https://www.proz.com/forum/scams/330580-does_this_sound_like_a_legitimate_inquiry.html#2763679


B D Finch
Katarzyna Slowikova
Ivana UK
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 12:15
English to Polish
+ ...
I give such details to everybody in my invoice without problems Nov 30, 2018

and sometimes even at an earlier stage when I ask for an advance payment.
Please don't tell me I am wrong - I do it for 40 years already.


Katarzyna Slowikova
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Biz is risks: Nothing [wisely] ventured, nothing gained! Nov 30, 2018

I also see no crime: a bank deposit could have little to do with the infamous bad 'overpayment' cheque, so it's not a red flag. Perhaps, now it's rare when a new client agrees to pay in advance, let alone in FULL. Still not a bad sign, just not a regular everyday "normal" practice.

IF you have thoroughly checked the client and got all the specific terms agreed (including claims, fines, and possible chargebacks), then it's not the information (no CVV/dates/PINs) to abuse your account
... See more
I also see no crime: a bank deposit could have little to do with the infamous bad 'overpayment' cheque, so it's not a red flag. Perhaps, now it's rare when a new client agrees to pay in advance, let alone in FULL. Still not a bad sign, just not a regular everyday "normal" practice.

IF you have thoroughly checked the client and got all the specific terms agreed (including claims, fines, and possible chargebacks), then it's not the information (no CVV/dates/PINs) to abuse your account. However, people with malicious intentions always can use others' contacts/info to cross up anyone as an infringer/accomplice, alas.

Just doublecheck, save the client's written (emailed) inquiry, and go ahead)
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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Scam Nov 30, 2018

Paweł Hamerski wrote:

and sometimes even at an earlier stage when I ask for an advance payment.
Please don't tell me I am wrong - I do it for 40 years already.


If you read the topic Walter linked to, you'll see that this scam has already been set in motion for others. It's a typical prepayment scam.


Walter Landesman
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't panic, Pawel! Nov 30, 2018

Paweł Hamerski wrote:
I give such details to everybody in my invoice without problems
and sometimes even at an earlier stage when I ask for an advance payment.
Please don't tell me I am wrong - I do it for 40 years already.

They're all certainly needed for the invoice if you want the client to pay by wire transfer. It's just a red light when asked for by the client even before you've agreed to do the job. I personally refuse to give them when I fill in those forms on agency websites. I put "To be advised" instead. They don't need the information until there's an invoice to pay.


Walter Landesman
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:15
Member
English to Italian
Bank details / Wire transfer Nov 30, 2018

OK, so I read dozens of posts where people say not to provide bank details... but my question is: how would that scam work, exactly? I mean, if you provide your bank details in order to receive a wire transfer, how can you get scammed?

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Katarzyna Slowikova
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
The original payment is likely to disappear Nov 30, 2018

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

OK, so I read dozens of posts where people say not to provide bank details... but my question is: how would that scam work, exactly? I mean, if you provide your bank details in order to receive a wire transfer, how can you get scammed?


The prepayment scam usually works with counterfeit cheques. The 'client' invents some reason for cancelling the 'project' and asks for a refund by Western Union or another untraceable method. A while later, the bank finds out that the cheque was counterfeit and the money is gone.

This could also be done via PayPal by paying with a stolen credit card number or a hacked account, as PayPal will issue a chargeback when they discover the fraudulent transaction. Instead of asking for a refund, the fraudster may also simply obtain the actual service before the supplier discovers they’ve been scammed when PayPal takes the money back.

The most likely explanation I see for a bank transfer scam is that the money is from a hacked account or that the money is of criminal origin. In the EU, an account holder has 13 months to contest that they authorised a payment, following which the bank is legally obliged to provide evidence that the account holder authorised the payment and, if they can't, refund the account holder. They are likely to try to get the money back from the remittee in such a case.

It could also be money laundering, i.e. the translator doesn't necessarily lose money, but they could end up in trouble because they have laundered money, particularly if they cannot justify the identity of the ‘client’. Just look at the Danske Bank money laundering scandal. You'd think a major bank had the resources to detect money laundering.

This is why due diligence – ‘know your client’ – should not be skipped.


Walter Landesman
B D Finch
 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:15
Member (2019)
French to English
+ ...
PROZ URL on pre payment scams Nov 30, 2018

PROZ actually has a URL specifically on pre-payment scams:

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


 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 12:15
English to Polish
+ ...
Thank you, Thomas, a lot of subjects deals with this standard scam, Dec 1, 2018

and Walter's guess can be as educated as it seems, but I just replied to Christina's question. Advising my bank details, etc. will not put me in any danger. I like forged checks and the effort the forger puts into creating them.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:15
Member (2008)
Italian to English
ONLY Dec 1, 2018

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

OK, so I read dozens of posts where people say not to provide bank details... but my question is: how would that scam work, exactly? I mean, if you provide your bank details in order to receive a wire transfer, how can you get scammed?


You should never give anyone your bank details until you are invoicing them for a job you have completed. Never at any other time.

[Edited at 2018-12-01 13:18 GMT]


Carolina Finley
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 12:15
Member (2016)
English to German
And why? Dec 1, 2018

Tom in London wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

OK, so I read dozens of posts where people say not to provide bank details... but my question is: how would that scam work, exactly? I mean, if you provide your bank details in order to receive a wire transfer, how can you get scammed?


You should never give anyone your bank details until you are invoicing them for a job you have completed. Never at any other time.

[Edited at 2018-12-01 13:18 GMT]


And why, exactly? I am with Mirko, I do not understand how you can be scammed just by giving someone your bank details. At least in the SEPA banking area, i. e. in nearly all Europe, a bank transfer cannot be revoked (as opposed to a debit, so if someone debits your account without authorization, you can revoke that).

I stick to this rule:
Check: Prepare to be scammed.
Bank transfer: Safe.

Apart from that, it should be obvious that you never refund or forward any sort of payment/overpayment to anyone. If you are in doubt about someone, you can tell them this right away. This should discourage any would-be scammer. (If the scam is obvious, it will be best not to answer at all, of course)


Katarzyna Slowikova
Mirko Mainardi
Jo Macdonald
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Where is that rule written? Dec 1, 2018

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

At least in the SEPA banking area, i. e. in nearly all Europe, a bank transfer cannot be revoked (as opposed to a debit, so if someone debits your account without authorization, you can revoke that).



Where is that rule written? The current Payment Services Directive is here:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015L2366

In case of an unauthorised payment, the payment service provider is liable towards the payer. But where does it say that funds received through a fraudulent transaction cannot be returned?

Under CT-02.00 in https://www.europeanpaymentscouncil.eu/sites/default/files/KB/files/EPC125-05%202017%20SCT%20Rulebook%20version%201.0.pdf , there are some provisions for recall in case of 'Fraudulent originated Credit Transfer'.

It says, for example:

'If the SCT was already credited to the Beneficiary’s account, there are sufficient funds on the
account and the funds are not yet returned, the Beneficiary Bank may, depending on the legislation in its country and/or contractual agreement with the Beneficiary:
• Generate immediate positive answer by debiting the account'

I wouldn't be so sure that a SEPA bank transfer is safe in relation to fraud.


 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 12:15
Member (2016)
English to German
Article 80 Dec 1, 2018

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

At least in the SEPA banking area, i. e. in nearly all Europe, a bank transfer cannot be revoked (as opposed to a debit, so if someone debits your account without authorization, you can revoke that).



Where is that rule written? The current Payment Services Directive is here:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32015L2366


The rule is written in article 80 "Irrevocability of a payment order" of this document, see your link. This essentially says that the payer will not be able to revoke the payment after it has arrived on the account of the payee.

There are exceptions and processes for returning payments, of course, but these either require the consent of the payee or some legal procedure. I don't expect a scammer to be able to start legal procedures in order to get their payment back. Scammers obviously will not act with their own identity or their own bank accounts. Scammers rely on anonymity, speed, and on the negligence of their victims. Faking a check is simple and anonymous, faking a bank transfer is impossible.


Katarzyna Slowikova
Mirko Mainardi
 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:15
English to Czech
+ ...
Google! Dec 1, 2018

This sentence:
"My preferred mode of payment is to make a direct deposit to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details."
sounds somehow familiar to me. So my advice to Christina is to google some phrases or other details from the email.

And to the others: please don't spread paranoia. Prepayment scam is not possible through a bank wire. Any scam involving bank wire needs an active collaboration from the victim - providing their logging details, agreeing
... See more
This sentence:
"My preferred mode of payment is to make a direct deposit to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details."
sounds somehow familiar to me. So my advice to Christina is to google some phrases or other details from the email.

And to the others: please don't spread paranoia. Prepayment scam is not possible through a bank wire. Any scam involving bank wire needs an active collaboration from the victim - providing their logging details, agreeing to forward the received money etc.

Pawel and Kay-Viktor are the voice of reason here, thank you.

Thomas T. Frost - the question is not, if this kind of scam is theoretically possible (I still think it's not) but whether these things happen in reality. The answer is they DON'T. Scammers are dumb and lazy a*holes, so why would they do it in a way that's complicated and with no guarantee of success when it's all too easy to do with a check?


Update:
I'm glad my point is also confirmed in the directive, but still, this debate was imho totally unnecessary.

[Edited at 2018-12-01 15:55 GMT]
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Vera Schoen
 
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