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Scammed
Thread poster: Kévin Brock

Kévin Brock
France
Local time: 02:44
English to French
+ ...
Mar 30

A pity that my very first topic is about a scam but... sharing is caring.

Earlier this month I received a mail via ProZ asking me if I was available for a translation.
I naturally replied while asking what kind of document it was.
The following mails were from patriciass4040@gmail.com and well-written in my opinion and the scammer gave me enough "information" to prevent me from doubting.
Here is one of he
... See more
A pity that my very first topic is about a scam but... sharing is caring.

Earlier this month I received a mail via ProZ asking me if I was available for a translation.
I naturally replied while asking what kind of document it was.
The following mails were from patriciass4040@gmail.com and well-written in my opinion and the scammer gave me enough "information" to prevent me from doubting.
Here is one of her mails :

Your price seems relatively low compared to other translators and I really appreciate that. The delivery date is okay but in return I want a perfect and accurate translation

50% of the payment will be sent upfront so you can proceed with the translation as soon as your receive the payment and the balance upon completion of the project.

However, my preferred mode of payment is to make a wire transfer or bank transfer to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details.

Full Name: Patricia Smith
Address: 12, White hart lane
City: Avon
State: CO
Zip: 81620
Phone: (571) 302-4340

Thank you


Between the talk about the recent windstorms and her stepmom's death, I wasn't surprised when I was told the following :

I just discovered that there was a mix-up in the amount that was sent to you.
I mistakenly sent the amount that was meant for the event planner for my step-mom funeral to you which is way more than your initial payment while the amount meant for you was sent to the event planner.

I believe it is something we can work out as soon as you have the funds available in your account so we can sort out the difference.
Thank you so much for your time, patience and understanding.


Kindly let me know as soon as you receive the payment.
Best regards


As you have probably guessed I took the whole bait.
I did a 12.997 words long translation for nothing (some practice at least...), have now a negative amount in my bank account, and will never trust anyone again in the future (apologies in advance to the people who are really struck with bad luck)

That's it,
I may or may not be covered since my bank is partly at fault (I explained the whole situation, and they told me there was 'no issues' with the check)
I hope that sharing my ordeal will prevent other translators to fall for the same trick.
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Monika Helmes
Sophie Cervera
 

Lian Pang  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:44
Member (2018)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Sorry... Apr 1

Sorry to hear about this horrible experience... hope it won’t cause too much damage to your faith in the freelance career.

Sincerely hope that you can at least partially recover your loss.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The phone number Apr 1

Sorry about this Kevin.

Since she did give you her (a) phone number, you could have called.

There are very few customers who tell you that your rate is lower than that of other translators. Just the opposite is the case. So that should have raised a red flag.

You could have also checked her email address in the scammers directory. Patrici(a)ass sound bad already. Usually people don't misspell their own address (White hart lane). Btw. only a White Lane exis
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Sorry about this Kevin.

Since she did give you her (a) phone number, you could have called.

There are very few customers who tell you that your rate is lower than that of other translators. Just the opposite is the case. So that should have raised a red flag.

You could have also checked her email address in the scammers directory. Patrici(a)ass sound bad already. Usually people don't misspell their own address (White hart lane). Btw. only a White Lane exists in Avon.

You didn't mention what you did with the "funeral" money. If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed on amount for your translation and send back the rest. The stepmother is probably still alive anyway.

[Edited at 2019-04-01 11:55 GMT]
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:44
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
What? Apr 1

If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed up amount for your translation and send back the rest.

What the heck? Are you serious?

[Edited at 2019-04-01 11:56 GMT]


Thomas T. Frost
Michele Fauble
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Well Apr 1

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed up amount for your translation and send back the rest.

What the heck?


Should he keep it and end up in court?

Wire transfer, and he was told there were no issues with the check.

[Edited at 2019-04-01 12:42 GMT]


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Several warning signs Apr 1

It's frustrating to learn things the hard way like this. There were several warning signs:

1. Gmail address.

2. Medium-to-large order in relation to a Gmail address and from a new client.

3. Unusual communication: 'Your price seems relatively low compared to other translators and I really appreciate that. The delivery date is okay but in return I want a perfect and accurate translation.'

4. That street in Avon, CO, doesn't exist according to Go
... See more
It's frustrating to learn things the hard way like this. There were several warning signs:

1. Gmail address.

2. Medium-to-large order in relation to a Gmail address and from a new client.

3. Unusual communication: 'Your price seems relatively low compared to other translators and I really appreciate that. The delivery date is okay but in return I want a perfect and accurate translation.'

4. That street in Avon, CO, doesn't exist according to Google Maps.

5. Small talk like that is unusual for a first contact, and talking about unrelated family events is a clear sign something is wrong. It's 'grooming'.

6. 'I just discovered that there was a mix-up in the amount that was sent to you. I mistakenly sent the amount that was meant for the event planner for my step-mom funeral to you which is way more than your initial payment while the amount meant for you was sent to the event planner.': All the warnings signs are flashing here. Typical prepayment scam.

7. The bank said you were paid by cheque. From someone who claimed to be in the United States and said they would pay by bank transfer. Typical prepayment scam. If you have evidence the bank gave you incorrect advice, you may be able to hold them responsible, but it would take years of court proceedings, as they will most likely deny everything.

Plenty of similar scam proposals have been described in the Proz forum over the course of the preceding months. Hopefully your experience will be a warning to others.
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Yoana Ivanova
Michele Fauble
Dan Lucas
Melanie Meyer
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:44
Member
English to French
+ ...
Scam Apr 1

I'm really sorry to read about your experience.

I believe this scam was reported some time ago: https://www.proz.com/forum/french/330848-attention_arnaque_ce_jour_29_11_2018-page2.html

Risk management is getting thornier by the day…


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 08:44
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Really? Apr 1

Thayenga wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed up amount for your translation and send back the rest.

What the heck?


Should he keep it and end up in court?

The entire point of the scam is that the payment is fake and the victim loses what they send to the scammer. Why on earth are you trying to complete the scam for them?


Thomas T. Frost
Thomas Pfann
Katarzyna Slowikova
Dan Lucas
Kuochoe Nikoi
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
No. Don't send back Apr 1

Thayenga wrote:

You didn't mention what you did with the "funeral" money. If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed on amount for your translation and send back the rest.


'Send back the rest' is exactly what one should not do before the whole matter has been thoroughly investigated and it has been ensured that the payment from the 'client' has not bounced.

Obviously the cheque from the scammer bounced after Kévin had returned the 'funeral money', so Kévin has lost the 'funeral money' and many hours of work.


Thomas Pfann
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Nothing to keep Apr 1

Thayenga wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed up amount for your translation and send back the rest.

What the heck?


Should he keep it and end up in court?


There is nothing to keep when the cheque has bounced.


Katarzyna Slowikova
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 02:44
Member (2016)
English to German
What was it, a bank transfer or a check? Apr 1

Kévin Brock wrote:

... However, my preferred mode of payment is to make a wire transfer or bank transfer to your account and all that is needed now is your bank details...

... I may or may not be covered since my bank is partly at fault (I explained the whole situation, and they told me there was 'no issues' with the check)
I hope that sharing my ordeal will prevent other translators to fall for the same trick.


Kevin, can you please describe EXACTLY what went on here? First you are talking about a bank transfer and then you are talking about a check. What was it, now? What was the exact payment method and how did the scammer manage to cancel the payment or make a fake payment here? Thanks.


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Are you with the scammer...??? Apr 1

Thayenga wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If you haven't returned it, or it bounced back for some other reason, just deduct the agreed up amount for your translation and send back the rest.

What the heck?


Should he keep it and end up in court?


What??!!! Have you switched sides???!


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Trickier then you think Apr 1

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:

Kevin, can you please describe EXACTLY what went on here? First you are talking about a bank transfer and then you are talking about a check. What was it, now? What was the exact payment method and how did the scammer manage to cancel the payment or make a fake payment here? Thanks.


These checks are apparently more tricky.
It's allegedly possible to send a check using just your usual bank info (account# and name) that cashes into your account automatically, so you don't even have to be told there's a check involved and may believe you'll get a wire. I don't know if it's clear the money came via check after it has happened.
I've read about it for the first time in a thread here just a month or so ago, by a US-based colleague. I can't find it now (maybe somebody else will remember...?) but here another translator (MK2010) confirms this is also possible in France:
https://www.proz.com/forum/scams/331945-bank_information_scammers-page2.html
I don't know if this is some special type of checks, if it's a novelty or has always been around.... my knowledge about checks doesn't stretch much beyond knowing they're scammer's favourite financial tool. Which is actually all you need to know in Germany, Poland or the Czech Republic.
But I would like to find out more about how this kind of transfer works and in which countries it's possible, maybe somebody here knows more...?


 

Yoana Ivanova  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 03:44
Member
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
I'm sorry Apr 1

Unfortunately, that's a typical advance payment scam with all the red flags present.

These have already been addressed above in Thomas's post.

Gmail, large project, advance payment, talk of personal issues, mixed-up amount of money sent.

I've never had a client offer to pay me in advance right off the bat.

No one conducting business with you for the first time would discuss their personal life so openly.

I'm really sorry this ha
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Unfortunately, that's a typical advance payment scam with all the red flags present.

These have already been addressed above in Thomas's post.

Gmail, large project, advance payment, talk of personal issues, mixed-up amount of money sent.

I've never had a client offer to pay me in advance right off the bat.

No one conducting business with you for the first time would discuss their personal life so openly.

I'm really sorry this happened to you. I hope it doesn't deter you from the profession. Remember the warning signs in the future and be very careful when a first-time client offers you a very large project. More often than not large projects would be delivered in segments for the security of both the client and the service provider and for building trust with first-time clients.

If you're in ever doubt, check the ProZ forums, do a Google search to fact-check any details given to you, in this case the non-existent street.

Never, ever send money back just like that to someone you have only just met over email. I can't believe this was suggested here.
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Michele Fauble
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Maybe the bank will take the hit, but probably not Apr 1

Kévin Brock wrote:
I may or may not be covered since my bank is partly at fault (I explained the whole situation, and they told me there was 'no issues' with the check)

It's possible but quite unlikely that the bank will refund the money, I'm afraid. Theoretically, you could even be considered to have willingly participated in money laundering. However, don't lose sleep over that as it's quite clear that you were the victim of a scam and won't be pursued.

Do please sign up for notifications from the ProZ.com Scam Centre, and read all its current warnings before accepting another new client. Keep in mind that most translation clients aren't scammers; in fact, the majority are totally honest and reliable.


Liviu-Lee Roth
Yolanda Broad
Yvonne Gallagher
 
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