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Scam alert: Parkstone Press / Sirrocco Publishing September 30, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
67 comments

One of my former students was just scammed by Parkstone Press / Sirrocco Publishing. She thought they were legit because they sent her a contract. After not receiving timely payment and having her e-mails ignored, she attempted to contact them by phone. Unfortunately she then learned that the New York and U.K. office phone numbers listed in the contract were fake. Upon further research on Payment Practices and Proz.com, she found out that they have done the same thing to countless translators in the past. All 3 company listings on Payment Practices (searching for “Parkstone”) have a PP Reliability Score (PPR Score™) of 0 and a Translator Approval (TA Score™) (would you work for them again?) of 1, which are as bad as it gets. I cannot stress this enough. You should always research potential new clients on the various payment practice groups that are available to translators or at a minimum do a Google search before agreeing to accept a translation job. Hopefully this post will serve as a warning to potential translators in the future.

Word of warning to blogging translators July 22, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Scam alert.
4 comments

Serena Dorey from Marketing Translation just posted the following on Twitter: “Blogging translators : be aware that this site  [site link deleted] is republishing blog posts in full without the blogger’s permission.” NEVER MIND! DO NOT GO THERE! Thanks to two eagle-eyed readers who noticed their computers became infected with a computer virus. I am so sorry for posting the link here and infecting some of you.

The site is only two days old, but there are already 63 stolen articles posted there without the author’s permission. I did a look-up on Whois.net (http://www.whois.net/whois/masyarakatpenerjemahmalang.com) and discovered that the site has been registered through a privacy protection company called Privacy Protect. Privacy Protect tells me they are not the host. The host is IIXMedia (iixmedia.com).

Registration Service Provided By: IIXMEDIA.COM – INDONESIA HOSTING & MEDIA CENTER
Contact: +62.2130314615
Website: http://iixmedia.co.id

If anyone else can make any suggestions on how to shut this site down, please let Serena (@serenadorey) or me know.

Scam alert: Somya Translators June 16, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
5 comments

If you receive an e-mail with a signature for Ajoy Singh at Somya Translators (e-mail: somyatranslation@yahoo.com, phone: +91-11-22484180, cell : + 91-9990094796, fax : +91-11-22484180) with a job request, do not fall for it. It is apparently a scam. According to Tina Mittra, a project manager of Somya Translators Pvt. Ltd. in Delhi, India, the company has been receiving invoices and e-mail for work which the company had not assigned. Apparently someone is using the e-mail somyatranslation@yahoo.com and assigning work under Somya Translators’ name and company details. If you receive a job request from the yahoo.com account, do not accept it. As Tina states, “We only use our internal company accounts like sales@somyatrans.com etc. for all the business activities. We never use yahoo, gmail, rediff or any other public accounts for business activities. We welcome suggestions from all of you how we can catch this kind of people.”

Several people on the ProZ.com forums and some of the payment practices lists I subscribe to have been complaining about Somya Translators for a while now. This explains a lot. All we can do on our end is ignore the job request. Hopefully they are able to take legal action on their end.

For more information, please read the ProZ.com forum thread. This only underscores my insistence that no one ever do business with a yahoo.com account!

Scam alert: yet another Nigerian scam targeting translators June 15, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
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According to the Sun Herald of Biloxi-Gulfport and South Mississippi, there is a new Nigerian scam targeting Hispanic translators in which con artists are promising to send people money in return for jobs that don’t exist. The jobs are being posted on Craigslist and Monster.com, so they just aren’t a local problem. The job ad requires the job seekers to send their resumé with their addresses and date of birth, previous place of employment and all their other personal information, including their social security numbers. The job seekers are then eventually contacted and sent large checks without having done any actual work. Once they receive the checks, they are then told the checks were made out for too much money and that the victims should immediately return the overpayment in a wire transfer to another address (if you’ve been paying attention you know that this is a common scam method and these checks are bogus). In short, the only time our clients ask us for all the detailed personal information is if you need to for a background check with the government, and those agencies should be easy to look up online. Never accept money ahead of time if you haven’t done any actual work – unless you yourself make it a stipulation for the job (like when you translate personal documents for an unknown individual). If you use your head and a little common sense you will not fall prey to these scams.

Scam alert: Word Solutions Translations February 11, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
20 comments

Just a word of warning if you receive an e-mail similar to this one:

We currently need English to Spanish Translators.If you”re interested to work with let me as soon as possible.
Thanks
John
WORD SOLUTIONS TRANSLATIONS
www.wordsolutions.com
e-mail:wordsolutions30@yahoo.com

It’s a scam. Several of my NOTA members have received e-mails from this supposed company. The company has no address on its website, there is no identifiable e-mail (other than a yahoo.com account, which is not very professional), and if you call the telephone number the only response you will get is a recording. After one of the members answered that she was available, “they offered a very good deal, a lot of work in too many areas…, they did not seem interested in checking qualifications, nor did they answer any of my particular questions in relation to the work, payment modality, nor where they are located.” The catch seems to be that you have to buy Systran software at a “discounted rate” to do the job. When asked for more information about the version and type so the translator could buy it locally they disappeared from her radar.

Lots of flags with this one: grammar errors, no identifying information yahoo.com address, etc. The clincher is trying to sell the translator software. Payment Practices has a listing for them and specifies it is an “ad only” capture site. As they say, “If it sounds too good, it probably is no good.”

Update: see the Comments for links to several discussions on ProZ.com about this scam. Apparently they are trying to do business now as Webnode Translation, www.webnodetranslation.com, transwebnode@yahoo.com“.

Scam/virus alert! August 4, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
1 comment so far

I just received this e-mail and wanted to warn the translation blogosphere just in case one of you receives a similar e-mail. I am fairly confident (ok, more than fairly confident…) that the attachment contained a virus, so I of course deleted it without opening it. I also know no money was debited from my account, because I had just checked my account to ensure a payment had been transferred several minutes beforehand.

Subject: Lastschrift 89773505

Morgen,
Ihr Auftrag Nr. SP0511940 wurde erfullt.
Ein Betrag von 6890.87 EURO wurde abgebucht und wird in Ihrem Bankauszug als “Paypalabbuchung ” angezeigt.
Sie finden die Details zu der Rechnung im Anhang
PayPal (Europe)
S.577; r.l. & Cie, S.C.A.
98-57 Boulevard Royal
L-2001 Luxembourg
Hochachtungsvoll,
Vertretungsberechtigter: Deandre Xiong
Handelsregisternummer: R.C.S.  B 194 162

Basically, the gist of the e-mail, for those of you who do not speak German, is that Order No. SP0511940 had been carried out and that they had debited €6,890.87 from my bank account as a PayPal transfer. The details of the transfer “can be found in the attached file.” I have no doubt the address and Handelsregisternummer (Commercial Register Number) are not real, so I don’t have any qualms about posting them here. I also doubt there is anyone named Deandre Xiong living in Luxembourg – or anywhere else for that matter.

The e-mail itself is suitably vague. The subject line is “Direct debit/debit memo 89773505” or something like that (I generally run screaming from translating financial texts, so don’t quote me on that). When I first saw the subject line in my Mailwasher program I thought it might be a translation request, but luckily I read the body of the e-mail as well.

I fell for this sort of thing about eight years ago when I opened an attachment that contained the “I Love You” virus, because the e-mail came from a client and sounded like it was a proofreading job (it was a variation on the first wave of the virus). I spent quite a bit of time and energy removing it, so I learned my lesson about opening attachments from unknown “clients.” If I get an e-mail with a strange subject line from a potential client I will either delete it sight unseen or reply asking them for more information about themselves. If the e-mail bounces back I know I can delete the e-mail.

I’m sure the point behind the e-mail is to make the recipient panic that money had been unjustifiably debited from their bank account and open the attachment to find out more details. A cooler head would wonder how these folks had gotten their bank information and authorization to debit the money from the account for a nebulous business transaction in the first place.

A little skepticism can go a long way in ensuring you don’t fall for scams, viruses and worms.