How do I react to probably scam?
Thread poster: Manuela Thames

Manuela Thames
United States
Local time: 23:36
New user
German to English
+ ...
Feb 11

I signed up for Proz yesterday and received an email today from someone requesting a translation. I was immediately suspicious and requested the text that she wants me to translate. Sure enough, I found it in google and it apparently is a scam. What's the best way to respond to this? Obviously I don't want her to email me again.

 

writeaway  Identity Verified
Dutch to English
+ ...
Just ignore and delete Feb 11

Proz is now a huge site and seems to have become a scammers' magnet. Read job offers carefully and the second you think something is wrong, it probably is. Just delete what looks suspicious. Scammers count on the high numbers and figure if they post to enough people, they'll end up hooking someone.
Don't worry about it. There will be enough valid offers coming in too.
For emails sent via Proz, there is a feature on the email itself (at the bottom if I remember correctly) where you
... See more
Proz is now a huge site and seems to have become a scammers' magnet. Read job offers carefully and the second you think something is wrong, it probably is. Just delete what looks suspicious. Scammers count on the high numbers and figure if they post to enough people, they'll end up hooking someone.
Don't worry about it. There will be enough valid offers coming in too.
For emails sent via Proz, there is a feature on the email itself (at the bottom if I remember correctly) where you can click on an option to block the person and/or the IP address from sending you any more emails.

[Edited at 2020-02-11 19:45 GMT]
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Liviu-Lee Roth
Teresa Borges
ahartje
Yolanda Broad
Laura Kingdon
Tina Vonhof
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Ignore it Feb 11

Just ignore that person. Stop responding. Block that email address if you can. There is nothing else to do.

If the person using a Proz profile, report it to site support.

Fraudsters target recently registered translators, so it may not be the last scam artist you hear from.


Liviu-Lee Roth
Sunjin Gu
Teresa Borges
ahartje
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:36
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Ignore it, but.... Feb 11

.... sometimes you are not sure whether it is a scam or not.

Today I received this message through Proz:


'Hi, I need a translation of my thesis summary (583 words)
from English into Dutch. I wonder if you are able to get
the translation back till next Monday and what would be the
price of the translation?'


I was not sure, so I googled his name and found a person with the same name who was graduating from a Dutch university. S
... See more
.... sometimes you are not sure whether it is a scam or not.

Today I received this message through Proz:


'Hi, I need a translation of my thesis summary (583 words)
from English into Dutch. I wonder if you are able to get
the translation back till next Monday and what would be the
price of the translation?'


I was not sure, so I googled his name and found a person with the same name who was graduating from a Dutch university. So, I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and sent him my price, on which he agreed.

I then sent him the next mail:


Dear XXXX,

Thank you for your interest in ESPANED.COM.

My m.o. with private clients is as following:

- You send me your full data (= full address, phone number, etc + VAT-number if applicable).
- You will receive my invoice with a request to transfer the due amount to my bank account.
- Once I received the payment, I will start with the translation.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,

Rob Rietvelt


He sent me his address + phone number, and a half an hour later a cancellation, he had found another solution.

So, was it a scam or not? Still don't know.
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Edward Potter
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Please alert ProZ.com Feb 12

Manuela Thames wrote:
What's the best way to respond to this?

Firstly, congratulations for being so on the ball. I suppose it's because you're simply new to the site rather than being new to freelance translation, but well done, anyway.

Some people like to bait them by stringing them along, but it's really a waste of time. The best thing is to just ignore the email. However, if the ProZ.com profile it came from is still active, please report it to Site Support by raising a Support Ticket. You can do that best via the Scam Centre: https://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts (see top right of the screen). That profile needs to be taken down asap so that others aren't caught in the trap.


Yolanda Broad
Liviu-Lee Roth
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Payment arrangements Feb 12

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

I then sent him the next mail:

Dear XXXX,
...
- You will receive my invoice with a request to transfer the due amount to my bank account.
- Once I received the payment, I will start with the translation.


I'm surprised that you ask for payment in advance, as an offer of payment in advance generally sounds alarm bells, as it is a well-known scam for fraudsters to offer payment in advance and then to request that you reimburse the over-payment they have just sent. Though it is more common for a cheque to bounce than a bank transfer, I thought that even bank transfers could go wrong.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Advance payment Feb 12

B D Finch wrote:

I'm surprised that you ask for payment in advance, as an offer of payment in advance generally sounds alarm bells, as it is a well-known scam for fraudsters to offer payment in advance and then to request that you reimburse the over-payment they have just sent. Though it is more common for a cheque to bounce than a bank transfer, I thought that even bank transfers could go wrong.


If it's a consumer, it makes sense to ask for advance payment, as it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to collect payment if the client doesn't pay on delivery. It’s close to impossible to perform any due diligence on a consumer, as we don’t have access to credit-rating systems and verifying their identify and address would be cumbersome and intrusive.

And this isn't an 'offer of payment in advance'. It's the translator who asks for payment in advance. That does not make the client a scammer.

The offers to pay in advance that sound the alarm bells are typically for thousands of euros or dollars, not a tiny amount like this. There's no need to be overly cautious over 50–100 euros. The translator just needs to be sure to get paid, and advance payment is the simplest option.

However, if the client uses a hacked account, stolen credit card number (e.g. for PayPal payment), etc., the money could still be taken back in a chargeback transaction. I was scammed that way once after having received a PayPal payment.

A bank transfer is probably safer, as anyone could use a stolen card number on PayPal. Nothing is without risk.


Robert Rietvelt
Laura Kingdon
Liviu-Lee Roth
Edward Potter
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:36
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
@B D Finch Feb 12

B D Finch wrote:

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

I then sent him the next mail:

Dear XXXX,
...
- You will receive my invoice with a request to transfer the due amount to my bank account.
- Once I received the payment, I will start with the translation.


I'm surprised that you ask for payment in advance, as an offer of payment in advance generally sounds alarm bells, as it is a well-known scam for fraudsters to offer payment in advance and then to request that you reimburse the over-payment they have just sent. Though it is more common for a cheque to bounce than a bank transfer, I thought that even bank transfers could go wrong.


I am afraid you misunderstood me. It was he who contacted me (not the other way around), and as I stated, I was not sure (scam? No scam?), but gave him the benefit of the doubt, because I did find somebody with that name who was graduating.

That (and because we are talking about a private person) was the reason I asked him to pay me in advance.

Please read my thread again.


Yolanda Broad
 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds good to me Feb 14

Robert Rietvelt wrote:
- You send me your full data (= full address, phone number, etc + VAT-number if applicable).
- You will receive my invoice with a request to transfer the due amount to my bank account.
- Once I received the payment, I will start with the translation.

He sent me his address + phone number, and a half an hour later a cancellation, he had found another solution.

So, was it a scam or not? Still don't know.


Good try. You played it well.

You asked for his full data. Scammers never give a valid phone number. If he does give the phone number, you call it and are ready to have a friendly conversation with an individual customer.

After having a conversation with a guy with an accent that fits the information he gave you, you get his money in a way you deem satisfactory, then give him his work.

The risk here is so low I don't fault you for giving it a shot. I usually don't even take the 5 minutes to send back an email with these same conditions since I know I'm never going to get a valid phone number.


 


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