The topic of fraud in the world of translation might seem like an out-of-the-ordinary or marginal topic in this sector. In reality, unfortunately, it is a widespread phenomenon that affects self-employed workers, translation agencies and private clients. In this article we learn to recognize one of the scam schemes currently most used by bad actors, as well as some alarm bells that will make you prick up your ears and suspect that on the other side of the screen there is anything but a professional online translator. Let’s start.

How scams work in the world of translation

Fraudsters steal the CVs of real translators, either by downloading them directly from industry directories or by posing as freelance agencies or project managers, which helps them to “legitimize” their supply to third parties through abusive contracts.

They then proceed to change the personal data and contact details. Sometimes, as anticipated, they don’t even change the name of the translator, committing true identity theft. At this point, they carry out a massive spam campaign aimed at translation agencies or, more commonly, freelance translators.

If an agency or freelancer takes the bait, they start the real scam. Fraudsters are very assertive in finding a compromise on payment, which generally consists of the classic 50% before starting the work and the other 50% at the end of the same. At this point, after having reached an agreement with the translator or the agency, they send by email a copy of the document to be translated and another of the collaboration contract.

The contracts have more than a semblance of authenticity, complete with digital signature, and it is almost impossible to establish that they are fake. After having countersigned the contract, the agency or freelancer receives a new email within a couple of days inviting them to write to the alleged fraudster’s bank to confirm payment by the latter. Surprise of surprises: a quick check is enough to discover that that email address doesn’t actually exist.

And here’s the final blow: when the agency or the translator contacts the scammer to ask for clarification on the matter, the latter reveals the cards and takes the last step, requesting the unfortunate person in question to advance a deposit, generally of a few one hundred euros, because he is unable to do so due to family or health problems (the excuses are more or less always the same) with the promise to return them within 5 working days.

How to spot a scam in the translation world?

Often you don’t have to get to the bottom of it to discover that there is a scammer on the other side. Fortunately, in fact, scammers are relatively easy to spot. The peculiarities of their modus operandi can raise alarm bells: they send spontaneous application emails even if the agency has a specific contact form; they do not include the address of the recipient of the email, but are part of a list of blind carbon copy recipients; their level of writing is terrible; the CVs they attach normally have different types of fonts, the result of massive copying and pasting from multiple CVs; the addresses collected in the CV are false, as are the postal codes, telephone numbers, as well as the tax code; the information provided is often contradictory, especially regarding date of birth and years of experience; their rates are normally ridiculous and if you check the author of the document that collects the CV, it is often different from the name of the person sending it.

LingoYou, the online professional translator agency

The actions of scammers harm the entire translation world. Result: loss of money, waste of time and loss of credibility with the customer.

We can’t say anything to these gentlemen, because they won’t listen anyway. We can only limit ourselves to doing our job in the most honest and professional way possible.

LingoYou is the professional translator agency that builds language bridges and creates trust between people.

Marketing Team LingoYou

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