Translators be aware: an ongoing scam asks for help using real translators as the “senders” 23

Early this week an ongoing scam using the impersonation of real translators and the emulation of their emails as a point of contact was reported.

This scam appears to take the form of an email “sent” from the real translator to other translators, using the real translator’s name and possibly data to lend credit to the sender, such as links to the translator’s website, etc. The emails appear to the recipient to have been sent from the real translator, with the actual sender’s address (the scammer’s address) “masked” behind this in order to receive any replies.

I copy below the message which has been received by translators using this method:

Hope you get this on time, Am sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip to Spain for a program,I’m presently in Madrid and am having some difficulties here because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept.I want you to assist me with a loan of (2,600 Euro = 3,300 Dollars) to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home.

I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively,I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with,I’ll refund the money back to you as soon as i return,let me know if you can be of any help.I don’t have a phone where i can be reached.

Please let me know immediately if you can be of help to my situation.

The message itself is classically scam; it is the fact that it appears to be from a fellow translator, perhaps even someone you know or have had contact with before, which can disarm the unsuspecting. If you receive a message similar to the one above, or any email that appears out of the ordinary, from an apparent colleague, please proceed with care.

————–
At the same time, be aware that cases of  “email hijacking” can also lead to scam messages like this being sent to your own email contacts (one such case was brought to my attention this week). To protect your email account(s), follow these basic guidelines:

* Use a strong password for your account (consider a mixture of letters (upper and lower-case) and numbers or special characters which is longer than 8 characters.
* Do not use the same password for all of your online accounts.
* Try to avoid sharing your email address on the Internet (the profile email feature is designed to protect against this and avoid the necessity of publishing your address publicly in your profile, for example).
* Use and keep your anti-virus software up to date.
* Make sure your email program or provider has a spam filter, and use it, flagging emails which are spam that are not caught automatically by the filter.
* Never give out your password.

23 comments

  1. Hi shadab, thanks for posting, good information on your blog, and it’s good to see people spreading awareness about these scams. Keep it up!

    • Hi Jared,

      I have been wanting to get a translator job on a part time basis but I am not sure if the Real Translator Jobs site is safe and authentic or legal and not just a scam. I need to earn a little more to augment my income from my regular job. I need your advice before I do register and pay the $68 for me to start with this job.

      I hope for your kind advice. I would appreciate it if you can also send your reply to my email: mikesuaco@yahoo.com or mike.suaco@jtkc.com.ph.

      Thank you very much for whatever assistance you can extend to me.

      Mike

      • Hi Mike,

        I’m not familiar with that site. I can give you some general advice when it comes to investing in membership at translator portals, and maybe others can add to this as well.

        There are many sites which offer services for professional translators. Most of these will allow you to register and use some features or give you limited access to what they have to offer for free. What you get for free is not necessarily indicative of what the return on paid membership there will be, of course, but it can give you an idea.

        I would recommend registering at several different portals, after doing some homework on each (a few Google searches can usually turn up pros and cons for a site, to begin with). Get what you need from each of those sites, no need to limit yourself to just one.

        When it comes to opening your wallet for paid services for translators, make sure you’ve formed a clear idea of what you want in return. A membership fee should be viewed as an investment, and not necessarily a magic solution to get jobs– professional, well-paying clients look for professional translators (this does not mean that there is not room for other levels of translation work, see http://www.proz.com/?sp=rates&sp_mode=overview for an example of what I’m talking about), and you need to be able to show this in your online presence anywhere. Getting direct access to jobs is only a (small?) piece of the puzzle; keep in mind that networking, for example, can play an important part in building your online presence and in meeting new clients.

        Ask other paid members on the sites where you’ve registered what they’re getting out of their membership. Ask more than one– most translators are more than willing to share this kind of info or to pass on a few pointers, and you may find that each person you ask is getting something different that they find valuable out of their membership (or not!).

        Membership fees can differ from site to site, and it all depends on what you expect in return– is 150 bucks too expensive? If it leads to one new regular client, probably not.

        Before paying for membership anywhere, also make sure it readily clear to whom you are making the payment (the person, persons or company behind the site or service), that the payment options are reputable, and what your options are for requesting a refund should you decide the service is not for you.

        I know this doesn’t really answer your question, but I hope it helps.

  2. This happened to a translator friend of mine who I have had some limited email contact with. He duly sent an email round to warn everyone. He had to change his email address and inform people not to use his old PayPal account. As he is based in a region of the world where he probably relies on PayPal for many clients, it must be quite serious!
    Thanks for notifying everyone!

  3. Hi Rose, Shadab, and Jared,

    I am very sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for the concerns, Rose! I was warned by Lucia yesterday and some of my fellow translators from Indonesia. The event took place in seconds. When a notification from Yahoo-like account comes and I click on it, all the passwords in some accounts were automatically reset. I was just wondering how it happened so fast. Even my Skype and Facebook accounts were reset. I spent almost 2 days without sleeping trying to fix the problem and I finally get all my accounts one by one. All my accounts are now back to normal and none of the data is lost except the scammer changes the “Reply To” setting to “ahnenalex@yahoo.com”. The email address seems to be mine at glance, but if we look into it, the scammer uses letter “e” between letter “n” and “n”. For additional tips, link your phone number to your account and put several secret questions on it.

    I hereby declare that my Yahoo account is now safe and has been securely protected.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Hi Ahnan,

    It’s good to hear you were able to get everything back to normal, and thanks for detailing how it happened!

    Other translators have been similarly affected. Detecting these attempts on one end (prevention), and quick detection/reaction by recipients on the other are key. Thanks to all the members who promptly reported these cases to site staff, which helped to get the word out about this as quickly as possible.

  5. Hi all

    I would like to continue some earlier postings which relate to a scammer from China by the name of Dillon Zheng who has been using my company’s details and a gmail account (linguistico.australia@gmail.com or similar) in order to lure translators into undertaking work and then skipping off into the sunset when payment becomes due.

    Please continue to warn your peers to be incredibly vigilant and careful when dealing with anyone using a free webmail address (particularly when their purported company has its own domain name).

    I don’t think we will be able to catch this scammer but we can all work together to cut off his supply of translators.

    Best,

    David

  6. Now.. SCAM THROUGH SMS..

    Yesterday i have got an sms that iam a winner of a huge amount for that i need to send my personnel details. Its indeed shocking that people are also getting phone numbers and using them for scam.

    Do you have similar experience.

  7. Hi , real translator jobs keeps sending me emails asking for my help ,to take on a job as a translator, i dont mind but i am not keen on supplying my credit card details,or more specifically the card signature number,please advise… shanaazh@webmail.co.za thanks!

  8. Real Translator Jobs is not true. I signed up last month for translation job and paid the membership fee. Now, I wanted to cancel the membership and get my money back because it’s not working for me. They offer 60 DAYS MONEY BACK GUARANTEE when you cancel within this period. I sent email twice but got NO response from Real Translator Jobs. I’ve been waiting for almost a month now.

    Blair

  9. Pingback: Scams targeting translators: the advance payment scam, and how to get the word out? | Translator T.O.

  10. Hello,
    This is ongoing – yesterday (9 Aug.) I received an e-mail from a Proz colleague’s address, clearly a scam. But just to check I wrote to him. When replying, I checked the receipt confirmation and got one … but from an entirely different address – owurolojo57@yahoo.com – and this one I googled and found to be mentioned on a blogspot devoted to scams. So it appears that my colleague’s e-mail address has been hijacked – and I would like to inform him (will do this via Scype).
    Keep you eyes open!
    Bye,
    Piotr

  11. Hi. I’m from the Philippines. i wanted to ask if real translator job is a scam or not. I’m afraid of giving my credit card information. But I really wanted to work as translator. I’m a stay home mom so I wanted to earn extra income. Thank you

  12. IMO if a site is called “real translator job” – therefore implying that no other jobs out there asking for your translation services are real- need we say more? Clearly a scam.

    While one can comprehend and respect someone’s need to earn extra income, if you don’t actually have the credentials or experience to offer translation services, please don’t step in. Any site which automatically asks you to supply credit card information is enough of a clue that it’s probably not offering what you are really looking for.

  13. i have received an email regarding the translator job. but it requires me to pay 30+ dollars to be able to start with the program…I just want to know if these are legit? thank you..

    allen

  14. i was also attracted to this real translator jobs. i have received a couple of emails from them, telling me that they “need” me. curious, i looked at what they have to offer, and i found out that i would have to pay a one-time membership fee. i did consider paying, but changed my mind. and i was surprised that when i decided to leave the page, an offer for a lower membership fee appeared. after reading about the reduced fee, i tried to exit, but again, a much lower membership fee appeared, and still another, until in the end, the membership fee had been reduced to only about one-fourth the regular amount. that was the time i got convinced that it’s a scam.

  15. Is “real translator job” which appear in yahoo mails really a scam?
    They offer works such as; making money out of filling up a particular survey, commenting on movies and others..
    Pls. answer my question..

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