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Why Do Writers Use Fake (English) Names When Doing Business?

dumbos 1 | -   Observer
Sep 10, 2013 | #1
Why do most of the academic freelance writers (or foreign companies) use fake English sounding names when doing business? For example names like "Jim Morris" or "John Steward."

It's clear these are fake names -- are these writers or writing services afraid of using their real names (ie. Ogumbo Boubaci or Abdul Purrani)? Why?
99Essays 4 | 258   Freelance Writer
Sep 10, 2013 | #2
Yes. There used to be a guy named Barack Obama who would advertise, and he never got any customers. I told him to change his name to Barry Oberman, but I don't know that he did. Last I heard he had changed careers.
Donald 7 | 69   Observer
Aug 28, 2017 | #3
The observation is accurate in 2017. Got spam from "John Mark" and "Nancy Smith" the other day. One IP originated in Kenya, the other in Ukraine. They use such generic names and hope of being untraceable. How naive of them!
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Aug 29, 2017 | #4
If they are company based client associates or writers with really strange sounding names, they are asked to change it to one that will invoke a sense of calm, trust, and authority in their communications. That is the same trick that call center agents in those far flung lands use to help shield themselves from blame and/or try to help the client develop a sense of trust and rapport with them during the call. The same goes for the writers from Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Ukraine, and where ever else these other writers come from. They change the name in an effort to win over the client. Now, since the clients normally converse over chat and rarely over the phone, they tend to get away with it.

The clients take the name for granted because they can't hear the accent coming from the other side. Basically, these unscrupulous client associates and writers want the client to believe that they are Americans, with very bad grammar skills (if you can believe it) as evidenced on their website, chat, and email correspondence, and yet, they have the ability to produce high quality papers. Some students (who are not fluent English speakers and writers to begin with) fall for the name switch while others who know of ES, come here to double check the credentials and claims of these people who email them or speak to them via chat.
Donald 7 | 69   Observer
Aug 29, 2017 | #5
that will invoke a sense of calm, trust, and authority in their communications

they are not company writers. wow. thats exactly what the fraudsters do. are you from ukraine? no problem - the country is the capital of fraud in Europe. How to deal with that? Easy - lets say we are from the UK. Or Switzerland. That will calm our customers. They'll feel better if they get scammed by us.

FreelanceWriter    5 | 1,315 ☆☆☆☆   Freelance Writer
Aug 30, 2017 | #6
They use such generic names and hope of being untraceable. How naive of them!

I don't think they choose those names because they think it makes them less traceable; they probably do it because those names sound quintessentially American to them and precisely because they don't realize they're so generic that they're transparently fake to Americans.
Extremely experienced, honest, versatile American writer in NYC with a Law Degree from NYLS: Visit NYCFreelanceWriter "dot" com
Donald 7 | 69   Observer
Aug 30, 2017 | #7
They do it for a good reason. They are not stupid, thats why they get away with world-wide hacks, they move from Ukraine to UK to China to hide their tracks and make it hard to the victims from the legal viewpoint. Its MUCH easier to investigate unique name then a very generic "John Smith" name.
ProfessorVerb    35 | 837 ☆☆   Freelance Writer
Aug 31, 2017 | #8
They are not stupid

Au contraire, mon ami. If you've driven in traffic lately,* you'll undoubtedly have noticed that at least half of the drivers are dumb as dirt.** I've seen people stop in the middle of the road for no damn reason, and others turn corners so fast they hit the guy next to me. I've actually witnessed a young motorcyclist die in the U.S. because he stopped suddenly in an intersection only to get struck by his buddies in the car behind him. I've also seen a man drive off an ice-covered expressway, only to bounce off a bridge abutment and get right back on the road without interrupting traffic. Jesus was riding with this guy in the front seat, but I'll bet his IQ was about 10.


**The most difficult thing that adults do only a daily basis by far.
* IQ is an average; that means that fully half of the people around you are as dumb as dirt. They deserve a fair shot but damn ...
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 16, 2017 | #9
Yes there are, like me. My first name is an English name though.
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Nov 16, 2017 | #10
Consider if you will that in China and Korea, some other countries, give their children two names, an English and a traditional one, then the fact that some of these writers use English names to conduct their business may be on the level. It is the tradition of some countries to allow their children to have an alternative western name because their traditional names are impossible to pronounce for westerners. In some instances, they don't give the child a western name but they give the child a western nickname. Does that mean their name is fake and they should not use it for business? Is Jenny Yin, also known as Xi Ti Yin (for example), an illegal person engaging in business as an academic writer (as a representation of the case) because of the dual names that she carries? Normally these names come across as mere translations of their traditional counterparts. So I think that gives them the right to use their names for whatever purpose they deem fit. However, the scammers from Europe are a different case. So I don't think that we should be lumping them into one basket.

@RandomRandom would you like to share what your English name is? Just your first name, nothing more. Then perhaps you would also like to explain why you have an English name instead of a traditional Kenyan counterpart? That will help us to understand the culture of the people and perhaps correct the misconception that these names are taken on as part of a scam action. At least, at the level of some Kenyan writers such as yourself.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 17, 2017 | #11
My English name is Mercy. I haven't met a Kenyan who didn't have at least one English name. Even famous politicians, writers, artists, etc who use two African names often have an English name. Maybe we can blame the colonial history, maybe Christianity, maybe globalisation, maybe all these.

To add on this, I know a person called Mary* Mbau. Mbau is her native language's word for woods (and mine too). She calls herself Mary Woods. Do you think she's fooling people? Is she lying to them?

*not her real English name.

Speaking of which, even the translation for Smith to my mother tongue is a really really common last name here. Maybe they aren't really lying. Maybe they're translating their names. I don't think that's dishonest lol.
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Nov 17, 2017 | #12
This becomes a gray area then because the name of the person, when translated, means Mary Woods. That is her real name in both languages. So no, she is not lying or fooling people. That really is her name. However, legally speaking, she cannot call herself Mary Woods when signing documents or representing herself in official business. Her real Kenyan name is what needs to be on the papers because that is what her legal papers say her name is. Now, if she were to legally change her name to Mary Woods, and have documents attesting to the fact that the person of the Kenyan name and the person of the English name are one and the same person, then her name, regardless of which one she uses tends to have a more legal standing. Although, I don't think it is legal to have 2 documented names. One tends to become an illegal alias in the process. So perhaps the same thing applies here. Like I said, it gets confusing at this point. Technically, the person is not lying nor fooling people because all that person did was translate the name to something more pronounceable. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with that. That is, as long as the person acknowledges that he is using a translated name when the need to clarify it arises. Transparency in business dealings is of the utmost importance and often, builds goodwill among the parties involved.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 18, 2017 | #13
Now that you mention it, the person doesn't work in the essay writing industry. Kenyans will usually tell immediately that her name is translated. I have another English name too that comes from a corruption of the pronunciation one of my African names. Usually, people, especially those who speak my mother tongue will immediately know what the African name is if I give them the English name. And I've had it all my life.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 18, 2017 | #14
That is, as long as the person acknowledges that he is using a translated name when the need to clarify it arises.

It seems everyone else here already concludes we're lying by having English names. The conclusion for most, despite knowing so little of our culture is that any name that doesn't sound 'African' is a lie. That's funny, because in Kenya, English is the second most widely used language. It may not be perfect English but I'm not lying when I say that. There are 50 other languages, more or less, spoken in the country. That people expect to know what a Kenyan name sounds like when there could be millions of variations is funny.

As I pointed out earlier, majority are also Christians. When I was a Christian, the church encouraged people to have a baptism and confirmation name. Since it was supposed to be a Saint's name, these names often turned out to be English names. What if a person, respecting their Christian faith decides to use both English names? Are you always going to conclude they're fake?
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Nov 18, 2017 | #15
Let me start off by saying that I am enjoying this discussion we are having. I am learning a number of things about Kenyans that I did not know about before. Actually, all I know is that Kenya is a former British colony, which explains why your second most widely spoken language is English. However, the perfect British English was most likely polluted over time and the ability to speak the language proficiently was lost as the influence of the British colonization began to dissipate. It is because of the image that was depicted by the British colonization no doubt, that created the low consideration for Kenyans. Like you said, it may not be perfect English, but it is still English just the same. That is the case for a majority of former colonies of both the UK and America. Now that I understand how your names are bestowed and that Christian names are actually encouraged by the church then it I for one am willing to admit that the name is legitimate. As far as I know, in most religion based countries, the church baptized name that comes with the baptism certificate is considered the legal name as that is registered with the government as a proof of birth. So, in that instance, the Christian name, which in this case is in English, gains an air of validity. In light of this new information, it may be safe to assume that the English name, even with an African last name, is valid for all intents and purposes.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 18, 2017 | #16
In light of this new information, it may be safe to assume that the English name, even with an African last name, is valid for all intents and purposes.
@ Smiley73

I mean even two English names are likely to be valid. The only reason I don't have a second formal English name is that I was hard-headed and refused to get a new name during my Confirmation and Baptism. I retained my birth names in all these instances.

I'm not a Christian anymore but I wouldn't go as far as to change my name because I do not have a problem with it.
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Nov 18, 2017 | #17
You have proven your point when it comes to the validity of the English names coming out of Kenya. That clears the air regarding the method by which these English names come into your possession. Just like everyone else, your name was thrust upon you at birth. Therefore, all related information is valid, binding, and legal. There can be no question as to the legality of the English name. However, having explained how the English name came about and explaining how these names are just like any other name given to a person by the parents, that still doesn't erase the fact that there are some Kenyan writers out there that give the names a bad rap. That is why this discussion became an issue in the first place. Now that we have the name issue sorted out, at least between the two of us, perhaps we should set our sights upon the English named Kenyans who caused the problems to begin with. How can they be stopped so that the names are not dragged across the mud for those who work with a legal English name coming out of Kenya?
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 18, 2017 | #18
with a legal English name coming out of Kenya?

Like I mentioned, every Kenyan you interact with is likely to have a legal English name. I don't see how you could stop because Americans don't really know what Kenyan names look like.

There used to be a guy named Barack Obama who would advertise, and he never got any customers

This is rather unfortunate. After Obama became president, many people in the country named their kids Barack Obama. Obama is also a genuinely Kenyan name so would you dismiss a person called Obama by pretending the name is American? If you did, I'd say you were the bigot.

(ie. Ogumbo Boubaci

Assuming this was meant to be a Kenyan name, I can say it is highly unlikely that you find a Kenyan with such a name. That someone thinks this would be more legit than say Joseph Smith is perplexing to me. Ogumbo sounds like a Kenyan last name but I have never met a Kenyan with it (I haven't met all the Kenyans, obviously).

The 'fake names' you encounter in the industry are likely to have real meanings for them. They may not be official, they may just be nicknames or English versions of African names but they aren't really fake.
Smiley73 4 | 382 ☆☆  
Nov 24, 2017 | #19
@RandomRandom I just received a news update on my phone that made me think of this conversation that we have been having. I thought it would be of interest for you to know that I am now convinced by your argument that the English names in your part of the world are on the level. It could be a real English first name or even an English surname used as a first name (for some reason). The news headline reads :

"Crowds of Zimbabweans gather for the inauguration of incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa"

I gave the name Emmerson a highlight because that is certainly an English name. Sure it is spelled differently but it is definitely a legal English name if I ever saw one. Now the last name is definitely not English, but I think that is a moot and academic discussion at this point since the focus of the discussion is the first name, not the last name. Based on this evidence, it becomes clear that people in that region of the world do give their children English names and these names are definitely legal. They can use their English names to their hearts content and nobody can say they are lying. Now, if they don't ask about the surname, then the person from that area doesn't need to disclose it at all and it would not be lying. It would just be a case of "You didn't ask, so I did not tell." If only the quality of their written work were at par with international standards, I sincerely doubt we would be having this debate right now.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 24, 2017 | #20
I sincerely doubt we would be having this debate right now.

On this forum, no we wouldn't. In other forums and places, yes people question. Sometimes maliciously, sometimes out of genuine curiosity.
RandomRandom    4 | 47   Freelance Writer
Nov 27, 2017 | #21
Now the last name is definitely not English

So I was thinking about this again. Well, this last name is also very unlikely Kenyan. A Kenyan would know upon hearing it. They may not know that it is from Zimbabwe outrightly. However, an American wouldn't know that (based on this thread). Supposing I presented a name from Zimbabwe as my own for the purposes of hiding my identity/scamming, then based on this thread alone, Americans would not know that it was not a Kenyan name. In fact, they would be tempted to think of it as legit because it sounds 'African'. What am I to make of it? Honestly, I'm starting to think that a clever scammer will use African names rather than English ones because English names from Africa seem to raise suspicion. Of course, some people on this forum think that an 'African' name does not stand a chance in this industry.

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