Updated August 2015

Spams, scams, and frauds

HITA members and friends,

We created this web page in 2007, to help warn translators and interpreters about things to look out for. Unfortunately, the need still exists.

The latest versions often look like this: Someone sends a document to a translator and asks for a proposal to translate it. If the translator responds, the scammer will send a check via mail, which the translator will deposit in their bank account. But either (a) the payment will be too high, or (b) the job will be cancelled. The translator will be asked to refund the money, probably through Western Union. A few days later, the translator will learn that the original check was worthless.

We recommend that all translators and interpreters avoid doing business with any apparent "customer" whose inquiry has the following characteristics:

  • Uses a free email address such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo.
  • Provides no other method of contact, such as a web site, telephone number, or physical address. Sometimes they will include this information but it is usually fake, and easy to check.
  • Does not offer any business references; someone else they have done business with.
  • The "customer" offers to pay by check in advance.
  • If you receive a check, the amount is more than the amount quoted for the job.
  • The "customer" asks for a refund of any amount.

If you have any suspicions about whether the customer is genuine, don't deal with them. And if they send a check, check with your bank and describe where you got it before you attempt to deposit. If you deposit it and the bank later determines that it is worthless, you will be charged for that amount.

Here are some links to more advice and explanations.

Other types of fraud:


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