Scam alert: Dr. Paul Vanderser May 18, 2010Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
Many people on the various payment lists to which I belong are discussing a scammer making the rounds. One person reported being approached by a “Dr. Paul Vanderser” (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are two of the e-mails that have been used so far) about a 10-page translation job. The document and the wording of the e-mails caused him to be suspicious, so he asked for 50% payment upfront (not a bad idea when dealing with new clients who appear to be private clients). The “client” agreed, and in a few days the translator received a check for six times the amount of the quoted price. The smart and savvy translator was rightly suspicious and found the local branch of the bank, which confirmed that the check was fraudulent. Several other colleagues wrote in reporting similar requests from this “gentleman” (and I use the term loosely). He has been trolling the ATA directory and ProZ.com for Hungarian and Dutch translations (among others I’m sure).
Dr Vanderser will most likely be sending the translator an e-mail informing him that he inadvertently sent him an amount in excess of the agreed fee (or a payment intended for another translator, etc.). He will then ask the translator to transfer the overpaid amount back to his bank account. By the time the translator’s bank determines that the check is fraudulent the money and the bank account holder will be long-gone. As one colleague wrote, “While most (intended) victims will ensure that his cheque clears before parting with their own funds, some will be trusting enough to fall into the trap.” Don’t be that person!
This should serve as a reminder that caution should be exercised when dealing with people with free e-mail accounts or people you do not know and do not have a known reputation in the industry. It is never a bad idea to implement a practice such as demanding upfront payment for new private clients, and if the client sends you more than the quoted amount, ten times out of ten (!!) the check will be fraudulent! It is very difficult to prosecute someone for issuing bad checks that are sent to a foreign jurisdiction.
Snopes.com is a good source to research Internet scam and fraud cases. This particular type is called the ‘Cashier Check Scam’ http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/cashier.asp