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Yet another agency requiring passport and other ID details
Thread poster: Jennifer Forbes

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 8, 2010

Today, I did an emergency job for an agency in the UK, new to me, with a good BB record. Having submitted the work and my invoice and receiving acknowledgement from the PM, I was contacted by an administrator at the agency telling me I'd have to complete their "application form" in order to be "registered" with them. To my amazement, the form said they had three grades of freelance translator. For inclusion as anything other than their lowest grade, they required me to send them my National Insurance number, a copy of my passport, a copy of recent telephone bills, copies of qualification certificates and two letters from referees, among other items.
I replied that I wasn't prepared to send them my passport, NI number and phone bills, because we are constantly warned nowadays about the dangers of disclosing this kind of information, especially over the Internet. I can't think why the agency thinks it needs it from a British freelancer in the UK who has just done a job for them. Extraordinary!
I wonder if this will turn into an excuse not to pay ... or am I getting paranoid??
Jenny


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:45
English to German
+ ...
Information on your phone bills Apr 8, 2010

that's quite unusual. Never heard of that.

 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Sounds fishy Apr 8, 2010

Jenny,
Did the emails come from the agency's own domain name?
We have heard stories of individuals posing as employees of agencies that are registered and have a good rating on the BB, only to scam people.
Katalin


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, from the agency's own domain name Apr 8, 2010

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

Jenny,
Did the emails come from the agency's own domain name?
We have heard stories of individuals posing as employees of agencies that are registered and have a good rating on the BB, only to scam people.
Katalin


Yes, Katalin, the email came from the agency's own domain name. If it is a scam, I didn't supply the confidential information so I hope I'll be OK.
Thanks,
Jenny


 

seraalice  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:45
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
ID details Apr 8, 2010

I guess, I was asked to send a copy of my ID card by one agency from Israel last month. I think some agencies have this kind of policy. But, copies of bills and other stuff - it seems a bit strange to me.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I recommend to be firm with them Apr 8, 2010

No law forces you do disclose this information to be paid, so they cannot hold payment even if you refuse to provide this information.

I think you did the right thing. If they don't pay, Blueboard them please!


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Suspicious stuff Apr 8, 2010

seraalice wrote:
I guess, I was asked to send a copy of my ID card by one agency from Israel last month. I think some agencies have this kind of policy. But, copies of bills and other stuff - it seems a bit strange to me.

I have been working in this business for 15 years, working for many different parts of the world and many different kinds of customers, and was never required to send my personal ID. Any such request is simply suspicious!


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:45
German to English
Very weird Apr 8, 2010

Hi Jenny,

First off, you have no legal obligation to provide this stuff at all, nor does their sudden demand in any way affect the validity of your invoice. If they'd wanted this stuff, they should have asked for it *before* the contract was performed. Your invoice will no doubt stand as it is, irrespective of their post-performance demands.

They seem to think they're a bank or infrastructure service provider (telco, utility). Very weird indeed, as it looks like a mixture of money laundering requirements and proof of residence.

As far as your NI number is concerned, this would suggest that they want to employ you as a salaried employee. Do self-employed individuals in the UK normally have to provide their NI numbers to their principals? (surely not...)

I imagine this is all stuff they've dreamed up for their EN 15038 certification or something similar. They're evidently out to lunch, so if you can live without these weirdos, I suggest you don't work for them again.

Robin


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:45
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It's certainly grounds for feeling paranoia Apr 8, 2010

Jenny Forbes wrote:
am I getting paranoid??


How bizarre!

As already mentioned, it sounds a little as though they see themselves as your future employers.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to gather the bits of information you ARE prepared to give them (e.g. certificates, documentation proving freelance status if that exists where you are, VAT N° if you have one, CV, references - and, of course, the link to your ProZ profile) and send it off to them as a sign of goodwill.

Maybe a link to this very forum post would help make them realise that their request is a little odd.icon_smile.gif


 

Stefano Papaleo  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:45
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
did you ask why? Apr 8, 2010

Just like the others said... never heard of such practice from any agency/client.. especially AFTER the hob was done and the invoice sent. I've only be asked such things from credit card issuers or other payment processors/betting services and with the obvious reason of verifying/validating my identity etc.

Sorry if I ask but... besides giving YOUR reasons not to... did you ask them to tell THEIR REASONS for asking you such documents? What did they say?


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No reason given yet Apr 8, 2010

Yes, Stefano, I did ask them why they wanted this information but I've received no reply - yet.
Thank you, everyone, for your supportive contributions.
Jenny (translator, 3rd grade).


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:45
French to German
+ ...
And the other way around? Apr 9, 2010

Jenny Forbes wrote:
or am I getting paranoid??
Jenny


Or are some agencies getting paranoid about the fact that they could possibly have to deal with hoboed moonlighters?


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:45
French to English
+ ...
Well... Apr 9, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:
Or are some agencies getting paranoid about the fact that they could possibly have to deal with hoboed moonlighters?


Well, hopefully they're paranoid about things such as translation quality and ability to work to deadlines. But neither your passport nor your electricity bill are an authority on those matters.


 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 23:45
French to English
+ ...
Tell them you would be happy to send the information... Apr 9, 2010

...just as soon as you receive the same information for all the company's principles and share-holders.

You should, of course, point out that you can only list them as a third-rate service provider until they provide the information.

T.


 

Krzysztof Kajetanowicz (X)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:45
English to Polish
+ ...
that's an insult to employers Apr 9, 2010

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Jenny Forbes wrote:
am I getting paranoid??


How bizarre!

As already mentioned, it sounds a little as though they see themselves as your future employers.


Even an employer would hardly demand a phone bill, especially having hired the individual already and accrued payables to her (which is also way too late to demand references, obviously).

To me, this looks like a big company with some not very bright bureaucrats having a bit too much too say. In any case, I'd run. How long can a company survive with so little business acumen?


 
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