As much as we love getting to know new linguists from around the world, a negative trend has been emerging that is starting to worry all language service providers, both freelancers and agencies. We receive a great volume of unsolicited emails on a daily basis from “linguists” interested in working with us that turn out to be “scammers”. We have heard and read things about them but it is truly becoming a widespread problem in our field affecting all of us in the industry. We have been contacted with this concern by both freelancers whose names and credentials were misappropriated as well as by companies who have increasingly been noticing an influx of scam emails.

The purpose for doing this is apparently to use professional linguists’ credentials to receive document translation requests from clients and then either provide machine translation or outsource the work to other linguists and not pay them for their services. What is clear to us is that false or stolen information is being used in a dishonest way to make money (Reference: For example, the following two screenshots are two emails that were recently sent to us.

Scam 1AScam Blog 2

As you can see, the emails tend to have different fonts, sizes, and colors, and in some cases look as if they have been copied and pasted from a website. Internal alarms ‘pop-up’ when we receive these types of emails and resumes, given that our general experience working with professional linguists, who demonstrate a professional and academic dedication in how they write and approach us, is quite a contrast.

Also, we have received the same emails and resumes from various different email addresses and with different names. For example, this particular “German linguist” sent an email in May and another one in September with the same content but from two different email addresses.

Scam blog 3Scam blog 4

Once we notice any unusual content and/or a suspect email address, we undertake a search to corroborate whether our suspicion about a potential scam is warranted.

We recommend the following precautionary measures to all linguists:

➢ When a company representative contacts you, always visit the company website. It will help you make an informed decision about whether you want to share your personal information.

➢ Be careful about sharing your resume through a website, unless a verifiable company representative requests it from you.

Please handle your personal information with great care and only entrust it to individuals and companies that will handle it in a confidential manner. Scammers are widespread and hard to stop, however, working together we can try to control this growing problem and protect our valuable industry.

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