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Posted on21 August 2015

Old translation scam back in town! Beware and stay safe online

A few translators and companies have been in touch to tell us about being contacted for a job which seems too good to be true – and turns out to be exactly that!

It’s a scam Atlas remembers from the 1990s, when someone claiming to be royalty from the Far East would contact us to book an interpreter to help his wife on a visit to the UK. All prices would be accepted, and payment in advance offered. The scam would be in the form of a banker’s draft. This would either be for too much money, or the job would be cancelled after the draft was deposited at the bank.

In the case of overpayment, the client would ask for a refund of the difference, which the honest company would arrange. In the case of cancellation, the client would suggest that the honest company could keep a generous amount as a cancellation fee, and refund the difference.

In either case, money would be transferred before the honest company received a letter from their bank to say that the original banker’s draft had bounced.

The 2015 version seems to be someone requesting translation work, often for a Conference. Alarm bells should ring as they are usually very well organised and giving plenty of notice! The person is well-organised, often has a helpful assistant, and has good English language skills. Payment is offered and made in advance – usually via an overseas draft. The assistant inadvertently overpays! And so on.

We ask all our suppliers – and fellow translation companies – to be vigilant. If someone offers to pay in advance, that’s always welcome, but are they real clients? Do research, speak to them by phone. Look on forums about the latest scams – such as the ITI Forum  which has posts about scams.

It’s always worth remembering to be careful about what you post online – your CV, personal details, even your date of birth, bank details. In any business directories, keep information minimal and available upon request.

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