Passport/ID card number
Thread poster: Kévin Bernier

Kévin Bernier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:43
Member (2013)
English to French
Sep 3, 2013

Hello,

I am still new to this business, since as I started about a year ago, and I was just asked to provide my ID/passport number for a translating contract.

I already asked the client why such information was needed (they have not answered yet, I only answered about an hour ago) but I wanted to gather some opinion.

Is that standard procedure? I have to admit, I am not too comfortable about giving such information. I did a quick search on the forums and it seems Spanish agencies do require you to give such kind of information, but I don't believe they are from Spain (it seems they are based in Malta).

In either case, opinions are welcome.


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:43
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Uncomfortable Sep 3, 2013

Hi Kévin,

I would feel uncomfortable about giving this information out too. There are lots of fraudsters out there who target translators and there's plenty of identity theft about.
I think the answer lies in whether you have adequately managed risk by establishing that the agency is who it says it is.
Have you checked their website? Have you spoken to them on the phone? Have you checked that their IP address location coincides with their stated location? Have you checked on google maps street view that their address actually exists? Have you checked the Blue Board and indeed, have you spoken to any other translators who work with them?
If all this checks out, I'd still ask them why they needed the passport. Perhaps they are trying to avoid cases of identity theft in which case, they won't blame you for doing the same.


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Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:43
English to French
+ ...
In what country is this agency? Sep 3, 2013

And ask them why they need that data (they probably don't).

This issue has been raised here earlier this year. A search would probably save time.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:43
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have NEVER been asked Sep 3, 2013

and I have been translating for more than 30 years. Some years ago, I did send by my own accord a copy of my passport to a customer who was doubting my nationality (he thought I was Brazilian).

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Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 07:43
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never Sep 3, 2013

I never give out my passport number or any other number for that matter. That may be the custom in the agency's country but not in our country.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:43
Russian to English
+ ...
Never give them your passport, or passport number Sep 3, 2013

If worse came to worse you can give them a copy of your driver's license (in the US -- this is the main ID). You can sign an affidavit for them that you are X citizen if they want to check your authorization to work-- nothing more than that.



[Edited at 2013-09-03 15:36 GMT]


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Here's the last time this question was asked: Sep 3, 2013

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/241091-agency_asking_for_a_copy_of_my_passport.html#2078270

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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Fine in Europe Sep 3, 2013

I don't think it's a strange request.

It's not the same as sending a copy of your passport or ID card. It's just the number that's needed.

In all EU countries except the UK icon_wink.gif you have to give your VAT number for invoicing purposes, and your VAT number is usually your ID card number.

In Spain, as you mention, your ID number has to be used for absolutely everything and all contracts, certificates, etc. will have a space for your name, signature and ID number. That includes NDAs and other agreements signed with translation agencies. As an off-topic example, I had to give my permission for a school outing for my son the other day, and that included signing the form and entering my ID no.

So, contrary to everyone else in this thread, I would call it standard procedure.


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Kévin Bernier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:43
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Personal experience in France Sep 3, 2013

Thank you for your many answers.

I am from France, even though I am currently living in Canada. Back in France, I never had to give my ID/passport number for anything other than government related issues and travels, which is why I'm doubtful now.

According to the company, they need the passport number in order to legitimize the contract and protect themselves from information disclosure etc.


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xxxowhisonant  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:43
German to English
+ ...
Perhaps usual in Canada... Sep 3, 2013

In Germany, it's the tax ID, in the US it's that or your social sec. no. In Costa Rica it's either the passport (for foreigners) or the cedula (ID for citizens and residents) number that are used as the identifier in just about any business transaction. If you're new to Canada, just ask around to find out whether the passport number is common practice there, and if not, don't provide it.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:43
Member (2008)
French to English
Not a usual request Sep 3, 2013

owhisonant wrote:

Perhaps usual in Canada...


No, it's not usual in Canada. There is no requirement to even have a passport nor is there an official ID card, so why would anyone require a passport or ID card number.

A social insurance number is only required of an employee and since a freelancer is a business person the S.I.N. number is not relevant. Such information can be the subject of identity theft.

I have had a couple of such requests over the years and responded that it's confidential information, and haven't heard any more.

[Edited at 2013-09-03 17:23 GMT]


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:43
German to English
So folk who have no need of a passport... Sep 4, 2013

...cannot work as a translator? Difficult to know where to start in exposing the illogicality of this request. It sounds like internal bureaucracy for its own sake. Might be more sinister but who knows. Maybe give them a fictitious number and see what comes back.
Odd request, to say the least.
DB


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