Detecting and reacting to false job offers and other scams

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Reference: Translator scam alert reports



  • This article is dedicated to scams, including those presented as translation jobs. The objective is to present them to translators in order to help them recognize these fraudulent activities and thus be better prepared to handle them.
  • It is claimed that about 10% of all adults have been victims of scams. Scams come in many shapes and forms. Many target the weak and the desperate but there are other rather sophisticated and find victims among educated people who would be likely to believe that this could not happen to them.
  • In the case of translators there are two basic categories: those who want to get a translation for free and those who are not interested in our professional services but simply in our money.
    • To cover yourself from the first category you should do your homework relating risk management, especially when receiving job offers from a new potential customer or contact.
    • For the other, more conventional scams, be basically suspicious of anybody who:
      • Offers you something for nothing. If it looks too good to be true, then probably it is fake.
      • Asks you to pay for handling expenses or to buy some tool in order to get access to a very convenient opportunity in a contact that was not initiated by you.
      • Asks you not to tell anyone about the dealing.
      • Tries to rush you into a decision.
  • Never forget the rule of thumb: If the promise seems too good to be true, it most probably is fake.
  • Some scams aim to get free translations by sending a job offer with contact data that later proves to be fake, and just disappearing after receiving the translated job.
    • This kind of scammer may have the knowledge to look like a real outsourcer and translators should have risk management procedures to apply before taking a job from a new client.
    • In some cases the scammers will claim to be project manageres working for a real and prestigious outsourcer but they will write to you from a free email domain such as Gmail or Yahoo. While it is OK for a translator to use this kind of email address, you should be suspicious of an outsourcer, especially a previously unknown one, who contacts you using a non-institutional domain.
      • Sometimes the address resembles that of the legitimate organization. For instance (fictional address) a great agency can have a domain and the scammed will write from the address or
    • You should visit the web page of any new contact and check the correct email domain at the "contact us" tab.
  • A different kind of scammers are not related to translation but may try to engage you in fake job offers as an excuse, but they are not interested at all in the fruits of your work.
    • They may for instance send you forged checks in excess of the agreed-upon amount and then ask you to wire back the excess payment (your loss once the checks are bounced) or request that you buy a discounted tool (and once you sent the payment you will never again hear of them).
    • One frequent telltale sign of these scams is that the author goes to an exaggerated amount of trouble to make their offer look "authentic" with all sorts of details that a real enquirer wouldn't actually use.
      • Most genuine enquiries I get just tend to say: "How much would you charge to translate this document into French?" or possibly "How much would you charge to get me this document translated by the 14th?". They don't tend to say: "I'll be needing a document translating into French because my mother, who's just come out of hospital after breaking her leg on holiday, is an avid trainspotter and needs to apply to her local French council for a wheelchair licence allowing her to use SNCF ramps more than the statutory 4 times a day, but sadly her French is limited, despite having lived in the country for over 4 years..."
    • Other warning signals are:
      • The alleged outsourcer is not interested in you expertise. You may read "Reply back with the language pair you are most comfortable working with"
      • The job characteristics are unrealistic, such as "The Project fields of expertise vary from technical, legal, commercial, medical, poetry & literature"
      • Unusual requirements such as "you will need to be able to read your email at least twice a day for urgent updates about the Project"
  • Yet another category will be standard scammers completely unrelated to translation, including Nigerian scams, dating scams and phishing schemes.
  • A final word of advice (from the Met Police — Scotland Yard — website; see Further reading below.
    • Do not respond to this type of approach - you will be targeted as part of a ‘suckers’ list. Fraudsters will share or sell on your details to other fraudsters.
    • Money Transfer is a favoured method of payment for advance fee fraud - see the Met Police page about money transfer in Further reading below.

Further reading

Nigerian scam

  • This scam is at least as old as the end of the 19th century, when victims were invited to help smuggle out of a Spanish prison the child of a wealthy family (that would later handsomely reward the child's rescuers). Of course the poor "Spanish prisoner" remained in his non-existent dungeon year after year, scam after scam.
  • The Nigerian scam started in the 1980s and, according to experts, the scammers manage to obtain hundreds of millions of Dollars per year from their victims.
  • It is also known as "419 scam", where "419 makes reference to the relevant article of the Nigerian Criminal Code.

How it works

  • Scammers will send a message apparently personalized (but in fact sent to many) promising an enormous amount in exchange for helping the scammer send a fortune (usually in the range of several million Dollars) out of their country (usually Nigeria or other African country).
  • The recipient of the message is offered a large share of this fortune in exchange of their help.
  • Details differ but some frequent variances are:
    • A bank clerk or government official who has stolen or found a fortune
    • The relative of a deceased millionaire (usually a deposed dictator or someone killed in a dictatorship) who has access to a hidden inheritance.
    • The executor of a large fortune belonging to someone terminally ill or already deceased, without descendants (next-of-kin variant).
    • A soldier who hit upon a hidden treasure
  • If the victim answers the message and agrees to play along then some problems will arise. Some paperwork will be needed, some officials will have to be bribed, etc. and the victim will be requested a sum to afford them (a small amount when compared to the expected reward).
  • If this payment is made new problems will arise requiring the transfer of additional "small payments that will enable the immediate transfer of the promised fortune".
  • This will continue until the victim runs out of money (or of patience), but some victims have been even enticed into traveling to the country (usually in Africa) where the alleged fortune waits for them.
    In this case the trouble can (and reportedly did) escalate into kidnapping and violence. Both the FBI and the British Met Police — Scotland Yard — are clear in highlighting and warning towards the risks and dangers of this escalation. See Further reading below.

A real life example

The following email was received by a member and submitted via support:

Dear XXXX,
 I am Barrister ZZZZ, a solicitor at law, personal
attorney to Mr.P.B. XXXX , a national of your country,who
used to work with Shell Development Company in Lome Togo.
Here in after shall be referred to as my client. On the 21st
of April 2004, my client,his wife and their only daughter
were involved in a car accident along Nouvissi express

All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost their
lives. Since then I have made several enquiries to your
embassy here to locate any of my clients extended relatives,
this has also proved unsuccessful.

After these several unsuccessful attempts to locate his
real relatives,I decided to contact you since you have the
same last name with my late client. I have contacted you to
assist in repartrating the fund valued at US$8.5 million
left behind by my client before it gets confisicated or
declared unserviceable by the Security Finance Firm where
this huge amount were deposited.

The said bank has issued me a notice to provide the next of
kin or have his account confisicated within the next twenty
one official working days. Since I have been unsuccesfull in
locating the relatives for over 2years now, I seek the
consent to present you as the next of kin to the deceased
since you have the same last names, so that the proceeds of
this account can be paid to you.

Therefore, on receipt of your positive response, we shall
then discuss the sharing ratio and modalities for transfer.I
have all necessary information and legal documents needed to
back you up for claim.

All I require from you is your honest cooperation to enable
us see this transaction through. 
I guarantee that this will be executed under legitimate
arrangement that will protect you from any breach of the

If you are in interested, please contact me through my
email address {email address here} so we can commence on all
arrangements and I will give you more information on how we
would handle this project.

Please treat this business with utmost confidentiality and
send me the Following information.
(1) Full names:
(2) Private phone number:
(3) Current residential address:
(4) Occupation:
(5) Age and Sex:

Awaiting to hear from you.
Best regards,

Further reading

"Advance payment" / "overpayment" scam

How it works

  • A scammer contacts the victim under the pretense of requiring some service that the victim offers.
  • The scammer sends the victim a counterfeit (or value-less) bank check, money order or traveler's check for that service. This often causes the victim to believe that he/she has already been paid, in whole or in part, for the service that has been discussed.
  • In some cases, the victim may even "cash" the check with a local bank, and the local bank may accept the check for a time. This reinforces the victim's belief that s/he has already been paid.
  • The scammer then convinces the victim to send some amount of money "back" to the scammer. This payment is requested for a supposedly compelling reason, either because there has been an accidental overpayment, or because plans have changed, some emergency has come up, etc.
  • Often the victim is told that s/he can keep a portion of the money for the inconvenience caused.
  • Rather than reversing the payment s/he has received, the victim is convinced to send or wire money back to the scammer from his/her own account or funds.
  • After the scammer has received some money from the victim, s/he becomes unreachable.
  • The scammer's initial forgery is later discovered, by the individual or by the bank. If a transaction had initially gone through, it is reversed by the bank, and the victim is out whatever amount s/he sent to the scammer.
  • This fraud is often, but not always, associated with a request for an interpreter.
  • This scam has also been carried out under the pretense of needing testers for services provided by payment intermediaries Western Union and similar providers.

A variant that targets translators and interpreters

  • A language service provider is contacted by a person requesting his/her services as a translator or interpreter.
  • A quotation is asked and the payment is offered by cheque in advance.
  • Payment is promptly received in one or more cheques, but the amount paid is far higher than the necessary amount (for instance double or triple) and the professional is asked to send back the excess amount.
    • In some cases the professional is asked to wire the excess money to a third person that will "use it to cover for other expenses of the event".
  • If that money is wired, it may be considered lost, and the professional may be in trouble for depositing fake or stolen checks.

  • A variant has been reported where "agency" was in Nigeria and the payment was done by their "client" in USA directly to the translator's PAYPAL account.
    • Once again, after the "excess payment" was sent back via Western Union, the "client" requested from Paypal the reimbursement of the payment arguing that they had not received the translation.
    • PAYPAL automatically reimburses clients so the translator lost the money sent back and the time devoted to the translation.

A real life example

The following emails were received by a member and posted in the forums:

I am XXX from Liverpool, UK.I will need the service of
an interpreter while i will be coming for a 4days program
in SPAIN(Madrid).The service would be for duration of 2hours
10am-12pm daily from, June28 Monday through July1

I would want you to get back with the price quote for the
service , so i could make deposit payment to reserve this
spot for me from your schedule.I will furnish you every
necessary further informations needed.

Waiting to read back from you at your best convenience.

The second email stated:

All you will be doing for me is to interpret my speeches 
from English to Spanish without interpreting back to English.
Consecutive interpretation will be okay for such purpose i 
guess!!!.Incase you stay a bit far from the location, include 
the charge for you accomodation and transportation in your 
final quatation and do get back to me asap. 

I will like you to know that I would have loved to come to 
your location and pay cash for your sevices but it will be time 
consuming and stressful for me, so I want you to know that the 
only method that will be easy and safe for both of us is to send 
you an international certified bank Cheque or money order which 
you will receive between 2-3 working days and thereafter you 
can proceed to the bank.

Kindly get back to me with the following information for payment.
Name to be written on the Cheque
Your full address to send the Cheque
Phone Number

Another case:

I am XXXXX from Liverpool, UK.I will need the service
of an interpreter while i will be coming for a 4days
program in GERMANY.The service would be for duration of
2hours 10am-1pm daily from, June28 Monday through July1

I would want you to get back with the price quote for the
service , so i could make deposit payment to reserve this
spot for me from your schedule.I will furnish you every
necessary further informations needed. 

Waiting to read back from you at your best convenience.


Another case:

Hi, I am XXXX XXXX from Chelsea, UK.I will need the service of an English to French Interpreter while i will be coming to grace a wedding ceremony in France as the Special Guest Speaker of the occasion on the Friday 16th and Saturday17 of July 2010.The duration will be from 2pm- 4pm on Friday and 10am-12pm on Saturday. If available for these days and hours, do not hesitate to get back to me with the fee involved so i work towards booking the space. Very Best Regards XXXXX XXXX

Further reading

In case of supposed advance payment, wait for the money!

Cases have been reported in translator portals about fake electronic banking receipts of transfers for urgent jobs.

If a customer agrees to send you an advance payment for some job and apparently does so by producing the receipt of an electronic bank transfer, make sure you wait until the money is in your account before starting the job. This way, you will avoid being cheated by people who are daring enough to fake bank documents.

"Pay to work" scam

How it works

  • In this scam people are offered the opportunity to make a good living from their homes and they are requested to make a starting investment to have access to this opportunity.
  • Once this first investment was made usually the scammer was nowhere to be found.
  • Also in some cases the fine print involved the authorization of monthly charges to the victim's back account or credit card.
  • Many victims of this scam are people who have difficulties getting a normal job (and they are among the ones who can less afford to be cheated).
  • Many recent scams have been made offering fake jobs for Google.

Variant: Tool required / Systran scam

  • There is a variant where it is claimed that a CAT tool has to be bought by the translator to get jobs.
  • This scam has been reported in forums as follows:
  • A translator received an email from an alleged translation agency stating that they are recruiting service providers in the translator's language pair and/or speciality.
  • When the translator answers, the "manager" of the "agency" interviewed him/her, sent a test translation and reported that all translators working for the agency had to use a not-very-common CAT tool. As the translator does not own it, the agency offers to sell it at a heavily reduced price (as a "subsidy" from the agency to get the translator in their work force).
  • After receiving a passing grade in the test translation, the translator is requested to send the payment for the CAT tool in order to receive and start working immediately. Of course if the payment is sent no word will be ever received from the "agency" again.
  • Some warning signs:
    • The "agency" show little interest in the translator's experience or qualifications.
    • The payment is requested to a personal account.
    • Sometimes the payment is requested to Nigeria or other African countries.
    • No web page (or cheap, free web page) for the agency.
  • In order to avoid falling victim of this kind of scam remember that you should never pay a company to hire you, for whatever reason presented to you.

A real life example

  • The following emails were received by a member and submitted via support:
Subject: Directory contact form {alleged name of outsourcer}

If you're a hardworking English to Romanian Translator and you'll like to 
work with us on our current project.Let me know as soon as possible then i'll
give you details of the job.

The second email stated:

Dear XXXX,
Thanks for your feedback..We require the business version of Systran and the 
cost is $389 but because of this project we decided to offer to translators for 
$290 and we can send it to you once you make payment by Paypal or Wester Union.
I have attached our agreement form kindly review sign it and send it back to me.
We make payments twice a month by Paypal,Western union and Direct bank deposit. 
I look foward to work with you.Thanks

The third email stated

Dear XXXX,
I'll briefly give you details about the job then you can choose to continue or 
not.We have a long term project for translations and to topic areas are:Business, 
Medical, Legal,Technical,Humanities,History,Arts,Politics,Economics,I.T e.t,c

we pay about 0.16 euro per word source.and we can offer as much as 3000 words 
4 days in a week depending on how much work you can handle.And because of the 
kind of companies and the kind of project we are doing.We also require that you 
get Systran software...Even as you start work and we can send one for you at very 
good discount rate or you can get it by your self from a shop close to you.We 
make payments by Western Union,Paypal and Direct bank deposit.I'll be expecting 
your feedback on this so we an start the process.Thanks
  • Notes:
  • Systran is a legitimate company and is not related in any way with the scammers.
  • In several real life cases investigated the IP for these messages was from Nigeria or other African countries

Variant: Translators association certification scam

Scammer contacts you as an agency offering you good jobs on the condition that you need to be certified by a certain translation association you never hear of before. Membership in this association costs a considerable amount of money. Once you paid said membership you send the corresponding information to the agency and you sit down waiting for jobs that will never arrive.

A real life example

Reply received by a member who applied for a job with a "translation agency" located in Australia:

Thank you for your email .
We are happy to inform you, FEA Translation and Language Solutions confirm acceptance on said 
subject concerning the cooperation with you, we agree to pay reasonable rate per source word.

We, FEA Translation & Language Solutions accept to cooperate only with WTACA verified members.

WTACA is an international Organization focusing on translation certifications, for more details 
you can visit their web site

Could you please send us a scanned copy of your WTACA membership, as soon as we receive it, we 
will send you our database form for translators which we would appreciate you completing, signing 
and returning to us. 

We would be delighted that you join us as a new Translator, your role is critical in fulfilling 
the mission of our Company.

We, FEA Translation and Language Solutions are here to support you so, please know that you can 
call on us to assist you. We are looking forward to start working together.

We recognise that our greatest asset is our translators; It is our people who deliver brilliant work. 
Who give the company its personality, who shape its culture, and who innovate. That´s why we believe 
in treating our people with respect, looking after their welfare and allowing them the freedom to be 
themselves, to flourish, and maximise their potential moreover to produce the best results for the Company 
& clients. It is our policy to assist our people to enable them to achieve their aims and aspirations.

We are enthusiastically looking forward to this project and we would be pleased about having the 
opportunity to work together.

Your satisfaction is important to us. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

All the best, 
Team External Partners

  • The allegues association WTACA's had in its page an admission fee of €100 to join WTACA. Some time after this was published in fora both the "agency" and the "association" webpages were no longer accesible

Further reading

Further reading

Dating scam

How it works

  • The scammer creates a fake personality complete with pictures (young and attractive), personality and history.
  • Posing as this person the scammer contacts the victim posing expressing interest in exploring a possible romantic relationship.
  • This may happen in a dates site, by addressing a database of emails or contacting the victim in an Internet site or chat room.
  • The victim responds and the pair begins corresponding regularly, discussing family, job, shared passions and other issues designed to earn the trust and the affection of the victim,
  • Once the illusion of a genuine and meaningful relationship has been established, the scammer will begin asking the victim for money.
    • Typical examples include the cost of the airfare to meet the victim, or a family medical emergency.
  • If the victim complies and sends money, he or she will probably receive further such requests until the victim discovers the scam, perhaps after waiting fruitlessly at the airport for a "lover" who, will, of course, never arrive.

Real life examples

The following emails were sent to members and reported vía support:

Hello dear new friend,
How are you today? I hope you are fine.
My name is Khady,I am kind, God fearing, caring, flexible, responsible, curious, 
easy-going, romantic and sensual. I prefer active way of life style. My dream is 
to spend time and share life with a partner, who will be my lover and friend,if 
you're interested with my proposal here is my email address {email address} I will 
be waiting for your email.
On my replying back I will reply you with some pics of me for more correspondence.  
Hope to hear from you.
Thanks, Khady.
My name is cynthia i saw your profile today at and i love it also became 
intrested in you,i will also like to know you more,and i want you to send an email 
directely to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am. 
Here is my email address{email address} i believe we can move from love distance 
or colour does not matter but love matters alot in life.i waiting to recive your lovely 
reply soon, 
Yours Love.
Miss cynthia

Further reading

"Secret Shopper / Wester Union testing" scam

How it works

  • Scammer contacts you impersonating a service evaluation company such as Secret Shopper, allegedly to employ you as a tester of quality of the services of money transfer company, usually Western Union.
  • You will receive a check,cash it, keep an amount per transaction as your fee and use the remaining money to make wire transfers to anotother contact in order to evaluate the service of the money transfer company and to report on them.
  • The checks or money orders used to pay you are forgeries, or stolen and they bounce even if originally accepted by your bank and you lose the amount you sent in the "test transfers" (and may also have legal problems because of the bad checks you deposited in your bank).

Real life example

I am an agent working with Secret Shopper® Europe We are currently searching
for English speakers in EUROPE to help us with our survey. Currently, we have
been paid to evaluate the services of a prestigious company which is the 

The WESTERN UNION is a company that offers money transfer services. The sole
aim of this job is to evaluate the services of WESTERN UNION in your area.
We have received a lot of reports about their poor services. Hence i will give you a
detailed job description in key points.
1. You are to locate a western union office you intend to evaluate.( If you need a list
of WESTERN UNION in your area please specify.)
2. A cheque would be sent to you to enable you have funds that would be transferred
to another mystery shopper like you who would be evaluating another western union
office in his / her location 
3. You deposit the cheques into your account.
4. You deduct your wage of 200Eur
5. You transfer the remaining funds(after the subtraction of your wage and possible bank
charges) to the name and address that would be attached to the cheque.
*NOTE* during the transfer process, you observe key things that would be sent to you
inform of a questionnaire via email/post to enable you give us a detailed feed back of the
whole process.
6. After the transfer, you fill out the questionnaire and give a general comment about the
whole process. The reports would be based on how true/false the complains of these worried
customers. Materials needed for the evaluation would be posted to you.
Hence your duties would be to go to a WESTERN UNION outlet in your locality as a customer.
You do not require any experience in this field as detailed guidelines would be given to you
to ensure a successful completion.
This role would pay 200Eur per Evaluation.
First Name: 
Last Name:
Postal Code: 
Mobile Number:
Home Phone: 
Current occupation:
Email Address:
We await your urgent response. Thank you for your help, we look forward to working with you.

Best Regards,

Variant: Payment protection services

  • The scammer will contact you offering you a job position (you did not request) in a Payment Protection services company, after reviewing your CV (that you didn't submit). The job is a part-time assignment with good salary and commissions and all you have to do is receive in your accounts the payments from the "buyers" and, once the transaction was cleared, to keep your remuneration and to wire the remaining amounts to the "sellers".
  • You will receive checks or similar instruments that you will deposit in your bank account and the bank will credit the money, then you will transfer the payments to the "sellers".
  • Later, the checks will be found to be forged or stolen and you will lose all the money you transferred and you will have legal problems for handling bad checks.

Real life example

Joel Greenwood.
Judd Financial Services Pty Ltd 

my name is Joel Greenwood and I am Judd Financial Services hiring manager. We have found and carefully reviewed your CV and decided to 
offer this job to you.

Our services:
When buying-selling operations via the Internet are concerned, the buyer and the seller don't know each other (they may be placed in 
different corners of the world) - it is very important both to the buyer and the seller for their deal to be made safe. Payment Protection 
means receiving money, documents, goods (it might be both the seller's and the buyer's) concerning the transaction to a reliable, experienced, 
impartial person - our Payment Protection agent. The agent will hold all the documents and money until all the terms of the deal are satisfied 
and only then release them to the intended receiver.

Why we need Payment Protection agents:
Having a Payment Protection agent in every country we can quickly transfer funds inside a country without wasting time on the international bank
transfers, and continue our rapid growth rather than overwhelming our own bank account with inbound and outbound transactions leading to severe 
hold times and possible service interruption. It is time that is of significant importance to our clients.

Career and Benefits:
Your main task will be receiving money transactions to any bank account you would like to use for the purposes of this job; and then forwarding 
these transactions to the next party of the Payment Protection process according to our instructions. You will benefit from the commissions, 
which are 5-7% of each transaction and depend on the quantity of the completed transactions and the speed of your work. Besides, you will be paid 
a basic salary of 1500 USD per month.

For your convenience there will be no paychecks, your commission will remain in your account after every successfully completed transaction. The 
money transfer fee is not included in your commission, meaning that you will deduct it from the received amount, not from your commission. Also 
you receive 5-7% of the transaction amount.
Normally the amounts that we process vary from 2,000 USD to 10,000 USD or its equivalent, but can go higher on special occasions.

Job details:
As the financial activity in your area is not too high, a Payment Protection agent will be processing approximately 1-2 transactions per week. Each
transaction requires approximately 4-5 hours of the agent work. Our manager always calls the agent beforehand to provide all the instructions.  
Therefore, with the due time management, the agent is able to combine this job with other activities (e.g. primary job or studies).

If you are ready to proceed, please reply to this e-mail and our hiring manager Paul Kings will contact you shortly.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information.

Yours Sincerely,
Joel Greenwood,

The contract they will offer you if you accept their job offer is:

Payment Protection Agent Employment Agreement
Judd Financial Services Pty Ltd (hereinafter referred to as “the Company”) on the one hand and _________________ (hereinafter referred to as “the 
Contractor”) on the other hand, together called Parties, have concluded the present Employment Agreement (further - Agreement) as follows.
Payment Protection Agent
Duties, Term of the Agreement and Compensation
1.1. The Company assigns and the Contractor undertakes the responsibility to provide the following services to the Company in the context of the 
present Agreement:
· To receive protection payments from the clients of the Company to his personal bank account;
· To effect protection payments to the Company’s partners via Western Union / Money Gram or another mentioned money transfer system.
1.2. The Contractor will report directly to the senior manager and to any other party designated by the senior manager in connection with the 
performance of the duties under this Agreement and shall fulfill any other duties reasonably requested by the Company and agreed to by the Contractor.
2.1. The Contractor’s basic salary will be 1700 EUR per month. The Contractor will also benefit from the commissions, which are 5-7% of every 
transaction and depend on the quantity of completed transactions and the speed of the Contractor’s work. 
2.2. The Company shall have the right to decrease the Contractor’s commission in case the payment processing terms were violated by the Contractor. 
In this case the Contractor’s commission will be decreased at a rate of 3% per day.
3.1. The Contractor, being the independent Party, independently bears responsibility for execution of services in the context of the present Agreement.  
Therefore the Contractor agrees that the Company shall not render the latter an employee, partner or agent with the Company for any purpose.
3.2. The parties have agreed to consider any messages sent each other by means of facsimile or email communication to be legal.
4.1. No person, but the account holder, who is the Contractor, shall have the authority to the withdrawal of any money from the account, which is 
to be requested from the Company. The company’s sole purpose to such bank information: account number, routing number, BSB/sort code, account name 
and address, is to deposit only. The account holder, who is the Contractor, will have the authority to withdrawals of any kind in order to  
satisfactorily complete the “duties” of the Contractor, who declares full responsibility of any requests to withdraw money for the Company according 
to the instructions provided by the Company. The Contractor acknowledges honesty and specific times to complete the tasks for the Company. The 
Company and The Contractor understand that all the money deposited to the Contractor’s bank account by the Company’s clients belong to the Company. 
No personal investments will be required on behalf of the Contractor to execute the Contractor’s duties according to the provisions of the present
agreement. No information, which will be provided to the Company, shall be distributed to third parties for any reasons and if doing so, the
Agreement will be breeched by the Company.
4.2. The present Agreement signed by the means of facsimile or e-mail communication, stands good in law. The present Agreement shall remain in force 
from the moment if it’s signing by the Parties (“____“________________ 2010) for the period of 1 (one) year, unless terminates earlier (with 1 (one)
week before notice required) in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.

Further reading

"Wallet lost abroad" scam

How it works

  • The scammer contacts the victim reporting that, while abroad his/her wallet was lost and (s)he needs help to pay hotel and other critical bills. Time is pressing because plane home leaves soon and victim is asked to lend money (usually via Western Union), to be sent back as soon as the scammer gets back home.
  • Reason for the trip is never corporative (where company would be expected to provide help) but individual (a conference, vacations).
  • Scammer may be impersonating a third party (who may be known to you) after having stolen elements of this party's identity (such as access to his/her email address.
    • In this case the request may come from someone you know, and a if you request confirmation via email you may get it (from the scammer).
  • If you are close enough to the person asking for help you should be able to ask questions that only that person may know. If you are not close to the person, then ask yourself why is (s)he asking help from you.
  • In a case reported in a forum the scammer asked the translator to perform a fake job and then used the "trust bond" created over such assignment to "ask for help" when wallet was "stolen".

Real life examples

The following emails were sent to members and reported vía support:

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, I came down here to United Kingdom for a short vacation 
unfortunately i was mugged at the park of the hotel where i stayed,all cash,credit card and cell 
phone were stolen off me but luckily for me i still have my passport with me.
I've been to the embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all and my return 
flight leaves in few hours from now but am having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel 
manager won't let me leave until i settle the bills.I'm freaked out at the moment."

I need your help, I have nothing left on me right now and I lucky to have my life and passport 
with me it would have been worst if they had made away with me passports.Well all I need now is  
just $2,550 you can have it wired to my name via Western Union I'll have to show my passport as 
ID to pick it up here and i promise to pay you back as soon as I get back home. Here's my info below:

NAME : xxxx
STATE : xxxx
COUNTRY : xxxx

As soon as it has been done, kindly get back to me with the confirmation number (MTCN),I promise to 
refund the money back including the TRANSFER CHARGES. Let me know if you are heading to the WU outlet now????"

How are you doing? Hope all is well with you. Iam so sorry i didn't let you know about me leaving for a 
conference in England. i really hate to do this but i need a favor from you because i lost my wallet on 
my way back to the hotel from the conference venue and i had all my valuables in it and now i am in a mess. 
Kindly raise me a loan of $3,200 so i can settle my bills here and get back home before things get out of hand. 
I'll really appreciate it if you could do whatever you can to help me, I'll refund whatever you can come up 
with as soon as i return. Kindly help me to sen the money through Western Union, using the details below.

Receiver's name: xxx
Address: xxx
Zip code: xxx
State: xxx
Country: xxx

As soon as you have it sent, please don't forget to send me the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) including 
the details of the transfer. I wait to read from you as soon as you have it sent today.

Further reading

"Employment abroad" scam

How it works

  • The scammer contacts the victim offering him/her a golden opportunity of employment abroad. Salary and perks are very attractive and working conditions are described as ideal.
  • Payment in advance is offered. You could expect to receive checks in excess of the promised account, see Advance payment / Overpayment scams in this page.
  • If you reply to the mail you will receive even better news and at some point you will be told that some small payment is needed due to red tape.
  • A typical example is the request that you send a given amount to an account in London, to be reimbursed to you on the next day, as a requirement from the British government to test solvency of applicant before issuing a work visa. Obviously this is a fake requirement and after paying you can say goodbye to the payment and to the employment.

Real life examples

The following emails were sent to members:

You have been sent a message via
Author: langhamhotel11
Author's Profile: (deleted)
Author's IP address:
Message type: Job-related
LangHam Hotel London
1C Portland Place Regent Street
United Kingdom
+44 702 408 2990
+44 702 405 6338

The LangHam Hotel urgently needs the services of devoted and hardworking workers, who are ready 
to work after undergoing enlistment training in all sectors. Qualified persons should contact us 
immediately for job placement here at the LangHam Hotel as the Hotel Management intends to increase 
its man power base due to increasing number of customers in the Hotel. 

Employment Type: Full Time
Monthly Salary: £3,950.00 GBP
Preferred Language of Resume/Application: English Years of Work Experience: 1years minimum

• BASIC MONTHLY SALARY: £3,950.00 GBP only. Travel Insurance, Medical Insurance.
• HOUSING & FURNISHINGS: £2,850.00 GBP (Yearly).

Two months’ salary of 7,900GBP (Inclusive of all allowances & benefits) shall be paid in advance before 
employee relocates to new job location.

• All payments of salary after assumption of duty in Marriott Hotel London shall be made in full to the 
  salary account of the Employer.

This is in line with the British Expatriate Financial Statutory Laws.



IF you are interested in this opportunity provided my LANGHAM HOTEL LONDON LONDON them you can contact us with CV on 
this very Email Address 

LangHam Hotel London

Notice the following:

  • IP address is from Nigeria
  • LangHam Hotel turns into Marriott Hotel somewhere along the message
  • Very broad offer, lots of specialties requiered, high salary offered to them all?
  • Three email addresses, two of them are fake, the third is a gmail address.
  • Payment in advance offered

Further reading

Phishing "data verification" scam

  • Message allegedly sent from a bank or other institution asking you to supply your personal information (including passwords).

How it works

  • You get an email allegedly from a bank or other service provider claiming that due to some exceptional circumstance you need to reply supplying critical data to allow the supplier "to solve some critical problem that compromise the delivery of their service".
  • The alleged reason may be congestion of service, changes of the operational environment, detection of unlawful activities, etc.
  • The email may have convincing graphics that emulate the look-and-feel of the alleged institution.
  • The links may ask you for your user name and password of your Internet bank account
  • Some of the links can also direct you to dangerous places where you may get a virus or trojan.
  • As a rule, no serious organization of any kind will ever ask you to provide your password.

Real life examples

Fake email allegedly from bank

Subject: Account Upgrade Notice

Dear Standard Bank customers,

This message has been sent to you from Standard Bank because we have noticed invalid login attempts into your account.
Due to this we are temporarily limiting and restricting your account access until we confirm your identity.
In order for your online account to remain active, you would have to upgrade your online account.
Please use the button below to update your online banking account.
Failure to adhere to this process may cause your online banking account to be suspended.
Please go to [Link removed by Lu]

Thank You 

Disclaimer | Conditions of access | Privacy and security statement | Site specs | Security centre | PAIA | Fica | NCA |
© 2010 Standard Bank is a licensed financial services provider in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act.  

  • Of course this mail does not come from Standard Bank.

Fake email allegedly from email service provider

Dear Valued Member,
Due to the congestion in all Yahoo users and removal of all unused
Yahoo Accounts,Yahoo would be shutting down all unused accounts,You will
have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Login Info below after
clicking the reply botton, or your account will be suspended within 24
hours for security reasons.
UserName: ............................................
Date Of Birth: ........................................
Country Or Territory:...............................
After Following the instructions in the sheet,your account will not be
interrupted and will continue as normal.Thanks for your attention to
this request.We apologize for any inconvinience.
Yahoo! Customer Care
Case number: 8941624
Property: Account Security
Contact date: 2009-04-28
While Viewing:
Form Name:

Further reading

Reporting scam/phishing emails received via mail

To report any abuse or email spam/scams/phishing through your mail service, follow the steps outlined here.

Discussion related to this article

Please note that forum rules apply to this area.

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Detecting and reacting to false job offers and other scams

Local time: 17:16
English to Oromo
ThanksJun 13, 2010

Very enlightening. I guess these things happen everyday. There are also cases of real translation agencies who never pay for services rendered and there is nothing one can do. Even if you try to avoid them, they come back to you with a different name.
Perhaps, you, as a known organization can get involved in the final agreement and have the customer make, at least, a prepayment.




Thayenga Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Nigeria, the UK, the USAJun 25, 2010

the list is endless as is the "business" they're conducting, including the Official(?) UK State Lottery and, of course, the movie and music industries.
I, too, have received the scam emails via ProZ. However, their poor English instantly unmasked them. Every time!

Thank you for this article and your consecutive warning to check the companies prior to doing business with them. Very good advice!icon_smile.gif




David Moore Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Text recognised? Then report it.Jun 26, 2010

How many times have we all had e-mails like the "dating scam" mentioned above?

My answer to these is always and invariably to click on the last line below the e-mail, where it says "Report as spam/unwanted advertising". I imagine the sender's e-mail ID or profile is then blocked by ProZ to prevent this happening again - until they invent a new alias, at any rate.

If we all do that every time, I think the perpetrators will get the (lack of) message. The same in fact goes for all the above scams - who, realistically, is going to pay millions of pounds, euros, dollars etc. away for virtually nothing?

Keep up the good work, ProZ, and thank you very much!

David Moore


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Well done!Jun 26, 2010

My most sincere thanks to everyone involved in writing the Wiki. Fantastic!


Pablo Bouvier Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
German to Spanish
+ ...
Detecting and reacting to false job offers and other scamsJun 26, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

My most sincere thanks to everyone involved in writing the Wiki. Fantastic!

Indeed, enlightening and useful. My gratitude to all the contributors that made this article possible.


Meritxell Asensio Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nigeria Translator scamJun 26, 2010

I have recently received a translation offer and after double checking I discovered it was a scam.
It is a shame that these things still happen but as they say... if it sounds too good to be true, possibly it is!

thanks for all the information provided and for helping us to stay alert!!!

[Edited at 2010-06-26 18:08 GMT]


Martha Schwan
Local time: 11:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
ThanksJun 29, 2010

polivios wrote:

Very enlightening. I guess these things happen everyday. There are also cases of real translation agencies who never pay for services rendered and there is nothing one can do. Even if you try to avoid them, they come back to you with a different name.
Perhaps, you, as a known organization can get involved in the final agreement and have the customer make, at least, a prepayment.




Daniele Heinen Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
Member (2006)
English to French
+ ...
Nigeria scam - a bit of historyJul 8, 2010

Just for a bit of history, having worked in Africa from 1975 to 1985, long before working in translation I can testify to the scams that at the time came by mail, then faxes then as the technology evolves, now e-mail of course.Nigeria was competing hard with Zaire as to level of corruption and both countries had currencies that you could not take out, so in both there was a flourishing currency black market, a situation which trigerred all sorts of make do schemes.


Manuela Hoffmann-Maleki Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
English to German
+ ...
Another example of such spam: "Interpreter needed!!!"Aug 12, 2010


after reading this, I am sorry to say that I took one of these mails for a real request. Fortunately, I answered that I would just accept bank transfer, not a cheque, but in case they send money - is there anything to do? I gave them my banking details. Hope that doesn't turn out to be a bad idea...

This is the first mail I received via ProZ:


My name is Dennis Rio from United Kingdom . I will
need the service of English to German interpreter while
will be coming to (Bavaria)Germany for a 3day event with
my wife
who is 5month pregnant. My wife does not understand
and as such will need English to German Speaking
to assist her in the area of purchasing certain items and
other relevant services. Your services will only be
from thursday23 ,september to Saturday 25 September, 2010
9am -2pm

I will prefer that such an interpreter is someone who is
very familiar with Bavaria places of interest and will
be a
very nice and jovial person that can keep a smile on my
wifeâ?Ts face till I return because she means a lot to

If interested, do get back to me with the fee involved so
can make deposit.
best regards
Dennis Rio"

And this is the one I received after I gave him my price details:

"I am okay with the fee.i would have love to come down to pay you by cash, but its going to be stressful and time consuming so i will send you an international Bank Certified check that you can easily catch at your case you stay outside Bavaria Munich do calculate your Transportation .Do provide the below details for payment.

Name to be written on the check
Full address to send the check
Your phone number
kind regards

So the latter contains almost everything that makes it look like the above-mentioned spam mail.

I reported this mail now by clicking on the link in the last line of the mail.

I hope there is not going to be any more trouble with this one. It had appeared somewhat strange to me, but when I found nothing via Google, I answered it...

Best regards,


Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.) Identity Verified
Local time: 21:16
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Greed and lostAug 25, 2010

In many scams, greed induces loss. If we are reasonable about what to pay and what to get--under normal practice-- what that is too good to be true will never hit us the translators. Internet today is not the only traffic way of the good and the honest. The ones with good communication skill e.g. English usage, can make fake matters with more conviction.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


Gudrun Wolfrath Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
English to German
+ ...
Manuela,Aug 25, 2010

I received an identical one and deleted it immediately.


Paula Morrison Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Direct contactAug 25, 2010

Hi all,

I have received a couple of these scams and the best thing to do is check, if it doesn't have a proper phone number you can call to to enquire about the job, then you can't simply rely on a fake email address that might look like the one from a legitimate agency.

That's my thought!



Paula Morrison

PM Translation & Interpreting Services

Tel: 0208 244 8278

Mob: 0782 8090 588

The information contained in this email or any attachment is confidential and intended for the exclusive use of the Individual(s) or organisation specified above. Any unauthorised dissemination or copying of the contents or any misuse or wrongful disclosure of information contained in it, is strictly prohibited and may be illegal. If you have received this message in error, please immediately delete it and any attachments. If you do not wish to receive any promotional material from us in the future, please let us know.

Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to


mónica alfonso Identity Verified
Local time: 11:16
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nigerian familly is growing!!!! Pity I received it in Spanish; hope many of you understand it. Sep 4, 2010


REF NO: K/M-001-23-8

Finalmente hoy, anunciamos los ganadores de la Kia Motors Ltd. Nigeria,
GANANCIAS PROGRAMAS PROMO 2010. Su dirección de correo electrónico
personal, ganó en la categoría segunda de lotería 002, celebrada en
Nigeria. En consecuencia, es tanto, se han aprobado para un pago total de
$800,000.00 dólares estadounidenses (ochocientos mil dólares
estadounidenses) solamente. Los datos siguientes se adjuntan a su
solicitud de pago ganancias: abonados a disposición REF NO: K/M-001-23-8.
y Kia Motors (PROMO) CHIP NO: 9465021

Todos los participantes fueron seleccionados a través de nuestro sistema
de votación equipo con Microsoft (TCBS), procedentes del continente
sudamericano, en el marco del derecho internacional "KIA MOTORS"
Promociones Programa, para promover el uso de KIA MOTORS en todo el mundo
para promover el uso de KIA MOTORS todo el mundo. Sus fondos (certificado
bancario de verificación) se han asegurado con su REF NO: K/M-001-23-8.To
reclamar su premio ganador, primero debe, en contacto con el agente de
reclamaciones más adelante los detalles requeridos.

Nombre 1.Full :.......
2.Residential Dirección: ...
3.País :......
4.Occupation :.....
5.Telephone NÚMERO :....
6.Age :....
7.Sex :....
8.Marital Estado :......
9.Nationality :....
10.REF NO :.....

Nombre: Sra. Axa Sawford
Correo electró
Copyright@2010 kiamotors.Ng


mónica alfonso Identity Verified
Local time: 11:16
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
And this one even dares to offer openly an 'obscured' (sic) businessSep 4, 2010

Good day,

I am Mr. Ming Yang, Director of Operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd, Sai Wan Ho Branch, Hong Kong . I have an obscured business suggestion for you.

Please Get Back to me on my Email Address:

Kind Regards

Mr.Ming Yang
Private Email:


Enrique F Granados-González Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another oneOct 27, 2010

Hello,I am Thomas Maxwell and i represent Nanjing Textiles
Import & Export Corp Ltd.I write to inquire for the service
of a matured Interpreter/Translator who can work for us in
Spain and Earn 400 EURO to 500 EURO weekly.The nature of the
Job is a partime which will only require about 2 to 3 hours
per week.Only contact us if you feel you are the right
candidate for the Offer so we can furnish you every
necessary details.

Thomas Maxwell
Human Resources Manager

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >

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