Strange requests from clients (asking for copy of passport/diplomas)
Thread poster: Yasutomo Kanazawa

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
English to Japanese
+ ...
Nov 25, 2010

Hello everybody,

I was wondering whether any of you would like to share your experiences of strange requests from clients which you thought ???.

I'm not talking about scammers such as "You won the lottery of 10 million Euros" or "I am the late widow of the deceased so and so", but legitimate job offers from agencies or clients doing serious business but requesting something which you wouldn't come across everyday doing translation.

I had two experiences in the past which I thought were weird:

a) an agency based in S. Korea asking me for a copy of my passport. They needed the information for making payments to my bank account. I told them that the information is too sensitive to share with other people, and I declined. Consequently, they paid me in full, so no payment problems. But I never experienced this kind of request where I have been working in this industry for 22 years.

b) An agency (I forgot where they are based) asking me for a copy of my college dipoloma.

For a), I could understand. Maybe they were being overly cautious that they are not wiring their money to a different person. They wanted verification that I am the one who's receiving the money.

But for b), I don't understand why they needed a copy of my college diploma. Is college diploma that important to work as a freelancer? I do have a Bachelor's degree from an American university which I clearly state the name of the university, the degree I hold and the field on my resume. Isn't that enough, or do they want solid proof? As in case a), I have never experienced this in the same length of time I spent in this industry.

Do you have anything to share?


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 13:15
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Agency ways Nov 25, 2010

Those are increasingly extensive ways of the agency to seek translators [I did not met with these in 1990s].
Never be surprised. You will see more weird requests in coming days.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Sushan Harshe
India
Local time: 11:45
English to Hindi
+ ...
No agency needs Passport proof Nov 25, 2010

Hi,

No agency requires passport photocopy from a freelancer. One may ask you for soft copies of your certificates, but not passport copy.

Better stay away from this kind of agencies, as there is potential threat of forgery.


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:15
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes to the certificate, big NO to the passport Nov 25, 2010

Hi Yasutomo,

there have been quite a few discussions about agencies asking for copy of passports/IDs in the forum. You surely did the right thing declining such a request, because it is not something agencies need to work with you.

You can find a couple of the previous thread about similar requests below:
http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/138113-a_scan_of_my_passport_needed_for_potential_collaboration.html
http://bel.proz.com/forum/business_issues/85465-translation_agency_asking_for_a_id_or_passport_copy.html

Down to the certificate/diploma, it is a legitimate request. Many agencies ask for them to verify the translator's credentials.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Alessandra


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the l;inks Nov 25, 2010

Alessandra Martelli wrote:

Hi Yasutomo,

there have been quite a few discussions about agencies asking for copy of passports/IDs in the forum. You surely did the right thing declining such a request, because it is not something agencies need to work with you.

You can find a couple of the previous thread about similar requests below:
http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/138113-a_scan_of_my_passport_needed_for_potential_collaboration.html
http://bel.proz.com/forum/business_issues/85465-translation_agency_asking_for_a_id_or_passport_copy.html

Down to the certificate/diploma, it is a legitimate request. Many agencies ask for them to verify the translator's credentials.

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,
Alessandra


Hi Alessandra,

Thank you very much for the links. I knew that there were forums in the past discussing about identity theft and so on. I know how the system works. But a copy of my college diploma? Don't agencies usually ask for other credentials, such as are you a member of ATA, or are you a sworn translator, etc.? Not to make a college degree a lower credential compared to the ones I mentioned above related to translations, I think it's almost pointless.

Also, the examples I cited above are something which I feel strange about, and I'm not limiting the contents of this forum to passports and credentials, but strange experiences which you would not normally come across when dealing with your clients.


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CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:15
English to French
+ ...
It may be mandatory for the translation agency Nov 25, 2010

Dear colleague,

I write here both as a translator and as a manager of a translation agency. As far as the passport is involved, I don't understand why the translation agency asked you this document.
Maybe it's a regulation in South Korea that leads the translation agency to ask you a copy of your passport.

Now, as far as the diplomas are concerned, that's another story.
Many translators state that they have this degree from that university... which is totally untrue (I have seen it personally). Checking a translator's credentials is a legitimate request indeed.
Two other (good) reasons for a translation agency to ask for your diplomas:
- The client wants it. My clients do have the name and email of the translator in charge of their translations; they sign a non-competing agreement, and that's it. I have never had any problem either with a client or with a translator. Depending on the client, they may want to know in details who's going to translate.
- The insurance company of the translation agency wants it, to make sure that the subcontractors are qualified translators.

I hope that, maybe, you understand better now why the translation agency asked you to send them a copy of your diplomas.

Yours faithfully
Coralie.


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Mirja Maletzki  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:15
Korean to German
+ ...
Korean agencies Nov 25, 2010

FORMATION CFK wrote:

As far as the passport is involved, I don't understand why the translation agency asked you this document.
Maybe it's a regulation in South Korea that leads the translation agency to ask you a copy of your passport.



I am working and living as a translator in South Korea and it is a normal practice. Apart from translation jobs I also do some TV and event jobs, and most of the time I am asked for a copy of my alien registration card or my passport. In most of the cases they also ask for a copy of my bank account book.

So please don't think bad of the Korean agencies. Of course it doesn't make sense to ask non Korean residents for a passport copy, but I'd just take an educated guess and say they just didn't know better. No scam or identity theft intended...


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:15
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nothing to worry about Nov 25, 2010

Mirja Maletzki wrote:



I am working and living as a translator in South Korea and it is a normal practice. Apart from translation jobs I also do some TV and event jobs, and most of the time I am asked for a copy of my alien registration card or my passport. In most of the cases they also ask for a copy of my bank account book.

So please don't think bad of the Korean agencies. Of course it doesn't make sense to ask non Korean residents for a passport copy, but I'd just take an educated guess and say they just didn't know better. No scam or identity theft intended... [/quote]

Hello Mirja,

Thank you very much for the info. Personally, I don't think bad of Korean agencies, and like you say, if it's a common practice in S. Korea, then so be it. But to be honest, many people feel uneasy about submitting even a copy of one's passport, especially when there are lots of Internet scams (not only in the translation industry) going on around the world. I know that Korean people are collecting copies of people's passports without the intention of using them in identity thefts or scams (Of course there are exceptions, and this is not limited only to the Koreans, this kind of Internet crime is borderless). I don't blame those people who become uncomfortable giving out one's sensitive information, since I am one of them. You don't know where you information may leak, and I think everybody is being very very cautious and scary because one would not know how their information may be used.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:15
English to Russian
+ ...
college diploma Nov 26, 2010

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

I don't understand why they needed a copy of my college diploma. Is college diploma that important to work as a freelancer?


Yes Yasutomo,

I think college background is important especially for screening of new service providers. Though I should confess that a college diploma doesn't give you 100% guarantee of quality work of the freelancer in question...

NK


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Riadh Muslih  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:15
Arabic to English
+ ...
Agree with Mirja Nov 26, 2010

Mirja Maletzki wrote:

FORMATION CFK wrote:

As far as the passport is involved, I don't understand why the translation agency asked you this document.
Maybe it's a regulation in South Korea that leads the translation agency to ask you a copy of your passport.



I am working and living as a translator in South Korea and it is a normal practice. Apart from translation jobs I also do some TV and event jobs, and most of the time I am asked for a copy of my alien registration card or my passport. In most of the cases they also ask for a copy of my bank account book.

So please don't think bad of the Korean agencies. Of course it doesn't make sense to ask non Korean residents for a passport copy, but I'd just take an educated guess and say they just didn't know better. No scam or identity theft intended...


Not only in Korea, in many other countries (usually outside the West), they are used to red tape that has been around for generations, and don't stop to think why and for what use. They ask for local ID from their own people, and naturally for a passport from foreigners. It is that simple.

Its normal, so you need not be suspicious in this respect.

Good that you asked.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 07:15
English to Croatian
+ ...
Direct clients Nov 26, 2010

I've worked for some companies ( direct clients) as an independent contractor and they required my passport copy for identity verification. However, it's a serious company/ client and I didn't have problems providing it.

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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
That pesky diploma Nov 26, 2010

I don't know if the OP has the same issue I have, but there is no copy of my American diploma going anywhere. It's encased in glass and framed, and is about 1/2 a meter wide.

Maybe European diplomas are more manageable.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:15
English to Russian
+ ...
What American diplomas are good for... Nov 26, 2010

Janet Rubin wrote:

I don't know if the OP has the same issue I have, but there is no copy of my American diploma going anywhere. It's encased in glass and framed, and is about 1/2 a meter wide.

Maybe European diplomas are more manageable.


Sure, as my diploma is only of A5 format (148 × 210 mm).

It seems the only thing American diplomas are good for is framing...

NK


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IDI  Identity Verified
Albania
Local time: 07:15
Member (2013)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Trans Gulf Management Consultants requesting for passport Jul 19

the Remote Interpretation company Trans Gulf Management Consultants has requested the following documents:

1. And if you haven’t done so - Copy of Certificates – the most recent and relevant certificate Academic / Job you achieved.
2. And if you haven’t done so - Recent Photo - clear and colored passport size photo.
3. And if you haven’t done so - A short sound recording in “English” language (any topic i.e. reading an article, introducing yourself and CV, etc.)
4. And if you haven’t done so - your Skype ID
5. And if you haven’t done s - your Mobile number that you will be using to download the App.
N.B.
A Clear Copy of your Passport – as our final requirement from you to complete your profile in the system.
the last point is clearly what worries me.....
any suggestions???


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:15
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Korean agencies Jul 19

I have worked with some Korean agencies that requested a copy of my passport and some that did not. I suspect it might be something they think they need, but don't really. I always look into every agency I work with to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that they are who they say they are anyway, and with this precaution, I think the risk of your passport copy being used for anything nefarious is extremely slim. You could try explaining why you prefer not to send them a copy of your passport, and if they insist, just don't work with them.

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