I have shied away from telling the story of how I was scammed because I was ashamed. How did I get fooled that easily when I pride myself on being a digital native, having worked in digital communications since the mid-nineties?
Shouldn’t I have been immune to the same old tricks of the online scammers? Shouldn’t I have known better?
I’m swallowing my pride now, and I’m about to tell you what happened.
Maybe because I just finished watching Netflix’s The Tinder Swindler, and I was reminded of that sense of dread that took over me when I got scammed. That awful feeling of being violated. I felt I needed to tell my story so that others won’t fall for it. The story of how I was scammed for $1700 by online thieves who tricked me using the same sophisticated tools I frequently use from Upwork to Slack to Google Chat, and finally Zelle.
This story is not all doom and gloom. It has a happy ending, so bear with me.
It all started with a job posting on Upwork about a remote, flexible opportunity for Arabic-English translators.
I was looking for gigs as I was building my online content creation business during the early days of the pandemic. As a bilingual, translation is traditionally something, I always fall back on when looking for cash flow.
It never crossed my mind that I would be scammed while applying for translation opportunities on Upwork of all places.
A few days after I applied, I got a reply from someone saying the company hiring manager would like to set up an interview with me and that the job was with “Transperfect”, a well-known and respected translation company in New York. I looked up the person that responded to me on Linkedin, and her profile matched her name and picture.
The “interview” was done via “Google Chat ” which I thought was a bit strange but brushed it off as a millennial brave world thing.
The “manager” who interviewed me via chat asked good, standard industry questions, and I thought I gave them accurate, intelligent answers.
A few days after the interview, they contacted me and offered me a part-time remote translation job.