Yep, It’s a Scam Alert
Reading time: [reading_duration] [/reading_duration]
Proz.com users beware! It seems like Lingvopoint steals identities of Proz users. Big thanks to Chosana Thanabhumi for bringing this to the attention of fellow translators in this forum thread. Lingvopoint has copied profile information (including profile pictures) of hundreds of translators registered at Proz. What really grinds my gears is that the rate indicated in my stolen profile at Lingopoint is ridiculously low and far from reality.
I guess I should ask my tax agency for a tax rebate
But here is another interesting fact for you: it seems like only those paying for the membership at Proz have their identities stolen. Interesting, huh? It looks like simple data mining to me. They steal your profile picture and the information from profile description (unless you use HTML, like I do). The rest is totally made up. Information about my salary and rates is far from reality by a mile. Obviously it was made with one purpose only:
Trick our end-clients into believing that translation services can be cheap.
Moreover my profile at Lingvopoint has reviews from some random strangers who seem to be either fellow translators or scammers. I’m serious. When I googled the email address of that strange person who left a fake review in my profile I stumbled upon a black list of non-payers. What the hell is going on here?
Take a look at this second guy. His email is blacklisted.
Fascinating, isn’t it? But wait, there’s more! It seem like job-postings have been stolen too! Even those that are forbidden from being posted elsewhere. Here, take a look at this example:
A job posting at Lingvopoint
Similar job posting at Proz
Lingvopoint: From Russia With Love?
Interestingly enough, when I was taking a look around I’ve noticed that for some reason the majority of website elements were in Russian language even when I was viewing English version. So I’ve decided to take a closer look at their code and voila:
Take a look at the keywords and description. They’re in Russian.
So it seems like we’re dealing with some bad-ass Russian hackers here. Well, not that bad-ass, because they’re clearly screwing with the wrong people. We’re a tight-knit community and we’ll beat these scammers in no-time. But this raises a lot of questions.
Proz And Never-Ending Security Issues
Question 1: Why are we paying for Proz membership when they cannot protect our privacy? This is not the first time our identities have been stolen from Proz. Here is another story with similar situation.
Question 2: What else has been stolen? What about our CVs? Samples of our work? Email addresses?
Question 3: Who is responsible and what measures will be taken?
I don’t know about you folks but this situation worries me a lot. Like I’ve said, this is not the first time this is happening. Proz really needs to step up and do something for its translators. How about a free year of paid membership for everyone who has been affected? But, who am I kidding, Proz has turned into a marketplace for bottom-feeders long time ago.
How Do We Fight This?
As Thomas Frost pointed out at Proz forum there are several ways that can be quite effective in this situation:
1. Complain about copyright infringement to the abuse e-mail address listed for the registrar in Whois: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Complain about copyright infringement to the hosting company Digital Ocean: https://www.digitalocean.com/company/contact/#tab_abusetrigger
3. File a copyright infringement report with Google at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice?rd=1
4. Complain about copyright infringement to the hosting company NephoScale Inc.: email@example.com
5. Share this post and the original Proz forum thread with your colleagues and in you social networks.
I’ve done that myself and I highly recommend that you guys do the same. It doesn’t take too much time. This is a serious offense and we need to fight this back. I do not recommend contacting Lingvopoint directly because in that case they’ll have your email address and God only know what they can do with it.
I think the picture is quite clear here and it will be resolved soon. Please share this with your fellow translators, write about this in forums and bring this to the attention of Proz.
We Can Fight This Thing Together