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Tuesday

Freelance Editor Scam Dependra Santha

Beware of a scam directed at freelance editors. It's a "fake check overpayment take-you-to-the-bank and get-your-money" scam.  Below is Dependra Santha's (the scammer) first email contact:

From: Dependra Santha
Subject: In need of an editor
To: mellow060@gmail.com
Date: Tuesday, August 3, 2010, 5:49 PM
My name is Dependra Santha, I will require your service to assist me in proof reading the two documents I have attached to this email. I will like to know how much you will charge for both document. Once am sure of the price, I will instruct my associate in the USA to mail out a cashiers check payment to you for the service since I am out the country now a short course in the United Kingdom. The document will be due by the 20th of August as am trying to submit them to an accessor over here. I will be waiting for your reply,
Regards, Dependra Santha

Then he sends a "cashiers check"(mine came in a plain brown envelope and appeared to be from Wells Fargo bank in North Carolina). The check was for 3,800 dollars, rather than the amount agreed upon for the work, 350 dollars. Next came an email about the overpayment:

Dependra Santha dpdsanth@yahoo.com
My associate just contacted me today that he mistakenly send the whole amount he is owing me ($3800)instead of sending the amount for the job as I directed him. Please I will want you to deduct your service charge and help me send the difference via western union money transfer service. The sending charge should be deducted from the balance after you might have deduct your service charge. The information to send the money to is;
Name; Dependra Santhamano
City; London; Country; United Kingdom.
Please note, you can deduct additional $100 for your running around to the western union location, thanks Once done with the western union, you will need to provide me with a 10 digit money transfer number known as MTCN. for the assistance.  Dependra Santhamano

Of course, after you receive the fake cashiers check, you will be contacted several times (once per hour) to send him the Western Union money transfer number. The problem: the check is a fraud; he'll take your money (had I not caught on, it would have over $3000 from my own checking account).

After emailing him to tell him I wouldn't transfer any money until his check cleared my bank, I googled his name (suspicious of his 3,800 check) and found a couple of hits about the scam. I notified my bank, which turned the check over to its fraud department. They called later the same day to say the check is a fraud.
This same group is also scamming translators. Since there wasn't a lot of detail on this particular scammer, Dependra Santha of the UK, I'm posting this to help sound the alert. I also turned him in to the FTC since he's using Western Union, misusing Wells Fargo bank material (or counterfeiting it), and the scam is international (surely breaks several laws). His IP address does show that he's at yahoo in Europe, and the envelop may have been mailed from North Carolina.

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