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Anyone who falls for this deserves to be scammed… February 7, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Scam alert.

I just received this e-mail, which was entitled “interpreter or translator request. Reservation”. My warning bells went off with the subject line and my suspicions were only confirmed as I continued to read. Can you count how many red flags this e-mail sets off for me? First of all, any e-mail that starts off with “Greetings” with no personal greeting gets immediately sent to the trash. He doesn’t mention what country it is. The U.S. is a big country. There isn’t even mention of a region, city or state. Not to mention he doesn’t even know what language I work in. Then it seems as if he needs an interpreter although he keeps mentioning he needs a “translator.” And I don’t know any conference that goes for 8 whole days. Good thing I don’t have a “facility to accept credit card payments.” Well, I do, but I’m certainly not going to share it with him… This e-mail went straight into the Trash after copying it for your benefit.


My name is Dr Jenkins Patterson, I want to make an enquiry for booking a translator for 10 people that will be coming to your  country for a 8 days meeting. bellow are details our program and translator requirements

From 16th May to the of 24th May 2012

Duration Of Services: 10:00am to 15:00pm (6hrs per day) for 8 days
We will need consecutive interpretation
calculate 6hrs per day for 8days , and get me the total cost.

Topic of meeting…disadvantages of a broken home..

NOTE…please i will like to know the languages you can translate.

Mode Of Payment: Payment would be made via credit cards for convenience purposes. Hope you have the facility to accept credit card payments?

types of CREDIT CARDS you accept so that we can make a deposit payment to secure the booking ASAP.

Kindly advise availability of a translator and the TOTAL COST including your mode of your services for the 8 days booking,

Get back to me with details so that we can make proceeds on the booking and as well make other arrangements for our trip.


Dr Jenkins Patterson



1. Terena Bell - February 7, 2012

So funny. I received the exact same email 5me minutes ago.

2. Karl Hansen - February 7, 2012

The sad thing is that many people must be falling for these scams; otherwise the scammers would have stopped a long time ago and tried something else.

3. Leonardo - February 7, 2012

Not to mention that, despite the name, the sender seems to struggle with English. I guess a broken home will do that to a native.

4. No scams - February 7, 2012

” Anyone who falls for this deserves to be scammed…”

I don’t think anyone really ‘deserves’ to be scammed however naive they may be.

5. Amenel - February 7, 2012

Well, the English is… broken. And I’m not even a native.

6. EP - February 9, 2012

Oh, I don’t know. He sounded pretty legit to me. I’ll be getting together pretty soon with him and a couple Nigerian guys I met online last week. We’re going to be laundering some dirty money they have for me or something…

7. Svetlana Cunningham - February 11, 2012

This is so badly written and composed, I am surprised anyone would believe this sort of scam. Also, a conference on “broken homes”… this is something new , especially, when they won’t even indicate what organization/company is behind all that and what kind of broken homes they will be discussing for 8 days.
Credit Card number is, obviously, a goal here.

8. Sally Loren - February 14, 2012

Unfortunately there are enough naive young translators who are desperate to pay their rent and will believe these things. My 65-year-old colleague who I used to share an office with and who is an experienced and clever translator also got a similar e-mail a few years ago. He thought it was legit too. Another variation is that they say they are coming with their wives to a conference for 8 days and you are supposed to look after and interpret for them. They send you a cheque in advance, so you believe everything’s fine. Then they send you a mail saying they will only require your services for 4 days and could you pay back the overpaid amount? Which people do by Western Union. The cheque then bounces and you are left with egg all over your face and an empty pocket…There’s a lovely British phrase: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Or: if it seems to good to be true then it probably is… After all who is keen to pay money up front to someone they’ve never met – and in a foreign country.

9. Silvia83 - February 14, 2012

Have a look at this funny and relevant post:

10. Judy Jenner (@language_news) - February 15, 2012

Based on the red flags you mention, this is a pretty obvious scam, but unfortunately, newcomers to the profession (and some others) continue to fall for it. The scammers are also getting smarter. They are learning and adapting, and that’s because linguists have responded to them, asking for the documents to be translated or the hours of the conference, etc. Good thing we are sharing this information on our blogs. I do, however, agree with @no scams: I don’t think anyone deserves to be scammed. On the other hand, a quick Google search on many of these will soon enlighten the person who’s considering accepting one of these dubious job offers.

11. Annemarie - February 17, 2012

Well, two red flags for me at any rate are definitely the spelling of “below” as “bellow” (this should “bellow” a warning to you!) and the fact that they think that 10am to 3pm is six hours. Really??

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