Last weekend I checked my mail and was surprised to see a message I thought was from an agency owner in Germany with whom I occasionally correspond but with whom I've never actually done business. It seemed that she wanted a short translation of the copyright page from a book. "One line," she said, though I counted more like 24 standard lines.
"The fee will be a minimum charge," I replied, and shortly thereafter I was asked to proceed. There was a funny smell in the air, which I could not yet identify.
Monday morning I prepared to do the little job, but first I decided to enter the company's data into my workflow system so that the delivery would go out with the invoice. Then the penny dropped. "Lopez"... not "Lopes" for the Portuguese German contact I knew. And further down... "Abu Dhabi". WTF? I had some correspondence with a company based there some years ago, but that was a different person. That smell got stronger.
Then my mouse passed over the e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org and a small pop-up advertised a different "mailto" target. Fish, I thought. A bit rotten, too.
Then I noticed that the e-mail address was one of those free accounts so popular with scammers. And wonder of wonders, the domain multi-ling.com doesn't actually exist!
It was then I finally turned to the Translator Scammers Directory. A quick free text search soon turned up the culprit:
Further details on the scam were included in notes. Another bunch of sleazy ripoff artists. There are a lot of them out there impersonating translators, project managers and agencies, sometimes using stolen credentials, sometimes with ones that are purely fantasy.
A very large portion of the spam mails I get are from sleazebags like this. And the statistics on phony translators offering their "services" to agencies might be more believable if reported as a fraction of what they really are.
What can legitimate agencies, translation buyers and translators do to protect themselves from such criminals. Be vigilant. If it smells like week-old fish, there probably is something rotten. And use the free facilities at http://www.translator-scammers.com/ as part of your research to protect yourself!
Unfortunately, I get 403 Forbidden at translator-scammers.com. Tor doesn't help too, and I'm currently not subscribed to any VPN services. As a fellow translator, it's regrettable that they implement such an indiscriminate blocking policy.ReplyDelete