Identity Theft in the Translation Industry

Wednesday 01 October 2014

Unfortunately, identity theft is something that most of us are all too aware of.  Sadly, the more information we post online about ourselves and the more information companies gather electronically about us, the more the fraud pipeline gets fuelled. 

In recent months, many of us have received notifications from large reputable companies such as high street banks and eBay advising us to change our passwords as their data security systems have somehow been compromised.  According to the 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey by the Department of Innovation and Skills, a staggering 93% of large organisations suffered a security breach in the previous year, a figure that is rising for both large and small organisations.

Generally, people associate identity theft with a directly financial motive, such as to enable criminals to either steal money from our bank accounts or to go on a spending spree on the internet with a cloned credit card.

However, there is as a worrying trend right here within the translation industry that should be of real concern to you if you are a translator who has posted your CV on a translators' website hoping to secure a genuine translation job or contract, or are a language professional in receipt of CVs soliciting work.

In recent months it has been identified that translators’ CVs are being ‘hacked’ in order for fraudsters posing as genuine translators to steal translation work from bona fide translators.

CVs are being doctored slightly by having names and contact details altered, but otherwise the rest of the CV remains intact.  According to João Roque Dias, who is presenting ‘The Translator Scammers' Plague’  at the ATA Conference in Chicago in November, around 80-90% of unsolicited CVs received by companies within the language industry are fake!

This is an extremely high figure and no doubt if you are a language professional then you may have already been affected by scammers copying your CV or you may have requested work from someone who was not who they appeared to be on paper.

What can you do to protect against scammers?

  • Do not publish your entire CV on-line - especially in Word format
  • There are websites available that specifically list fake translators, check these out if you have any doubts
  • If in receipt of a CV you think may be suspect, always ensure that you properly reference check before hiring someone
  • Often fake CVs have gaps in experience or missing bits of information
  • Fake CVs often make wild claims about how fantastic their work is
  • When speaking with people in connection with their CV always be sure to thoroughly check their skill set
  • Ask for specific examples that demonstrate the work they have said they are capable of or ask the translator to carry out a small translation test free of charge

Chances are something will feel just not quite right with a fake CV.

For professional and genuine translation services, request a free quote from RL Translations today.