ATIA Perspective on Pre-signed Translator Statements

Recently, ATIA became aware that some agencies are asking translators to pre-stamp and/or pre-sign blank translator statements. The request is often accompanied by an offer that if the translator chooses to do so, they will be given priority when translation jobs come through the agency.

While ATIA does not have a policy that prevents its membership from taking this action, it is not something that we condone as you could be opening yourselves to the potential for fraud. Your stamp(s) and seals(s) are your responsibility. Agreeing to this practice could result in your stamp and/or credentials being used on a translation that you did not author. This could put you at risk of future litigation.

It is important to remember that your stamp and seal remains the property of the Association and that you are its caretaker and are therefore responsible for how it is used.

Protect yourself from scams and fraud

Regularly, the Administrative Assistant and Development Coordinator receive notices regarding suspicious emails and questionable requests for services. It is important that you exercise vigilance when considering any new client.

Tips on how to protect yourself:
Do not accept any overpayments. If a client has sent you too much money, refuse to accept it. Do not cash the cheque under any circumstances. Return it to the sender and report the incident to the authorities.
Do not accept payment by cheque, especially from unknown or first-time clients. There are more reliable methods of payment including Interac e-transfer that can be used.
Do not begin any work until you have received payment and it has officially cleared your account. Note: the bank can come back many months later and tell you a cheque was actually fraudulent. 
Do not feel pressured to “act now”. Fraudsters will use pressure tactics and quick turnaround times against you. 

If you received an email from a sender exhibiting the following behaviour, be aware it may be a scam:

Their email address contains the words “no-reply”.
Their “reply-to” email address does not match the email from which it was sent.
They insist on an unreasonably urgent timeline.
They do not provide self identifying contact details.
They insist you begin the work before agreeing on payment.

What to do if you have received an email you suspect is an overpayment scam: 

Don’t respond to the email.  
Report the email to the Canadian Government’s Spam Reporting Centre and/or the Anti-Fraud Centre. Spam isn’t just “annoying, unwanted” emails. It is also defined as “false or misleading electronic representations.”

The names, emails, stories and excuses the fraudsters use for various scams are always different and ever-evolving. The stories may even seem elaborate and convincing. But while the stories change, the motive of the fraudster does not: they just want your money. 
If you believe you have already fallen victim to a scam, please report this to the following authorities: 

Your local police’s non-emergency line. 
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

If you’re aware of any other fraudulent schemes where translators and/or interpreters are targeted, please let us know.