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Do you know of any existing identity verification systems that freelancers can use?
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Dec 21, 2016

Hello everyone

A new feature available only to Plus members is the option to have their identity verified by SecurePro and to have their verification card be displayed in their profile pages. But SecurePro is not the only identity verification system, and anyone who creates a verification card or link from such a service can display the card's image or the link on their profile pages... albeit not in the same prominent location as the Plus membership's SecurePro card (although I think the option should be made available to do so).

My question is: do you know of any identity verification systems that freelancers can use, and what do you know about them?

A quick google (since I'm chasing deadlines) got me to miicard.com, which does work for freelancers, but only if you're in one of the very limited number of countries that it supports. It also requires you to tell it your banking login details (and you can/should change your banking login details directly afterwards).

Do you know of any other?

Samuel

==

[Related threads are here and here.]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2016-12-21 16:45 GMT]


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 00:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
bank account security Dec 21, 2016

Dear Samuel,
I wouldn't disclose my banking login details to anyone, for security reasons. No matter how reliable that site might be.
Walter


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Walter Dec 21, 2016

Walter Landesman wrote:
I wouldn't disclose my banking login details to anyone, for security reasons. No matter how reliable that site might be.


I feel pretty much the same. So ideally we should learn about services other than miicard, right?


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:28
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Is it really necessary? Dec 21, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

Walter Landesman wrote:
I wouldn't disclose my banking login details to anyone, for security reasons. No matter how reliable that site might be.


I feel pretty much the same. So ideally we should learn about services other than miicard, right?


Or ask ourselves: "Is this really necessary (or just an induced need)?". And, even if we were to add such an additional "verification certificate" somewhere in our profiles, how would that benefit us (or the client)?

I mean, there are people here with years of experience, already verified identity, verified credentials, verified feedback, corroborated projects, associated LinkedIn profiles, etc. What would a "verified DOB" or a "verified telephone number" add to that? Perhaps this could help those who are just starting out in this business and need some form of "validation"...

As a side note, and quite paradoxically, I remember that the "plus" program was presented as being targeted to the more experienced professionals, although, in my opinion, it offers things (such as a CAT tool, training videos, this "identity verification", etc.) that seem more geared toward those with less/no experience...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's only necessary if you want it Dec 21, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
Or ask ourselves: "Is this really necessary (or just an induced need)?".


It's probably just something that very few of us have thought about until now that the Plus membership includes it.

And, even if we were to add such an additional "verification certificate" somewhere in our profiles, how would that benefit us (or the client)?


The benefit to us is that it is just one more little thing that we can do to make new clients feel at ease.

I mean, there are people here with years of experience, already verified identity, verified credentials, verified feedback, corroborated projects, associated LinkedIn profiles, etc. What would a "verified DOB" or a "verified telephone number" add to that?


It's up to you to decide if taking yet another extra step is worth your while. But think on this: you might just catch that client for whom all the things you mentioned do not really sway the opinion, but for whom the fact that you have been verified by a reliable third-party service does.

By the way, you mention an "associated LinkedIn account", but AFAIK you can't associate a LinkedIn account with your ProZ.com profile. You can place link to a LinkedIn account from your ProZ.com profile page, but there is no way the client can tell whether or not the ProZ.com profile page that he's looking at is really from the same person as the LinkedIn account that the translator claims is his. FWIW, Miicard does offer LinkedIn account verification (i.e. Miicard verifies that you are able to log in to the LinkedIn account that you claim is your LinkedIn account).

That said, there are ways to verify your LinkedIn account yourself -- simply add a link from your LinkedIn account to your ProZ.com profile page, and the other way around as well. But will clients see this?


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:28
English to Croatian
+ ...
Also, competitiveness. Dec 21, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

As a side note, and quite paradoxically, I remember that the "plus" program was presented as being targeted to the more experienced professionals, although, in my opinion, it offers things (such as a CAT tool, training videos, this "identity verification", etc.) that seem more geared toward those with less/no experience...


I remember somewhere mentioned "XY number" of freelancers signed up for plus package (it was a large number) which makes me wonder how this is any better in terms of competitiveness. Does it mean paying more for membership to end up at the same level of competitiveness (ie. a large number of freelancers will result in many of them reducing rates in order to stay competitive).


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Linga and Mirko Dec 21, 2016

Lingua 5B wrote:
Mirko Mainardi wrote:
As a side note, and quite paradoxically, I remember that the "plus" program was presented as being targeted to the more experienced professionals, although, in my opinion, it offers things ... that seem more geared toward those with less/no experience...

[The high number of freelancers signing up] for plus package makes me wonder how this is any better in terms of competitiveness. Does it mean paying more for membership to end up at the same level of competitiveness?


I don't know, but that is not my question.

Third-party identity verification does not say anything about the reliability of the translator -- only about the validity of his personally identifiable information. In this thread, I'm not concerned with any presumed effect that the availability of such a feature in the Plus membership package might have on professionality or competitiveness.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reinventing the wheel Dec 21, 2016

I wouldn't put my money or hopes on identity verification systems that aren't already mainstream, such as background checks and credit checks (at least here in the USA). If some customer wants something additional, I would go about it on a case-by-case basis.

I don't want to burden myself with unnecessary or repetitive tasks anyway.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Why? Dec 21, 2016

Why has this identity verification suddenly become such a big issue? If you have had your credentials verified and/or you are a member of a translators organization in your country and/or you have other websites, is that not enough? There are plenty of other ways for potential clients to verify your identity and existing clients don't need it.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tina Dec 21, 2016

Tina Vonhof wrote:
If you have had your credentials verified and/or you are a member of a translators organization in your country and/or you have other websites, is that not enough?


It's enough for me, but is it enough for a client who cares about such things? Remember, the value of an identity verification service is that clients don't have to figure out how to verify your identity themselves.

ProZ.com verified my credentials by looking at my diploma and deciding whether it looks fake or not. ProZ.com did not perform any additional steps to verify that my name was not simply photoshopped onto an existing diploma, or to verify that I had indeed attended that particular university or had attended or completed that particular training course. In fact, not even I can't verify that I had studied there (I actually tried).

If a client lands on my ProZ.com profile page, he can see my web site address and my e-mail address there, but that is insufficient, because my profile could be fake. If he wants to sign a confidentiality agreement that is legally valid, then (in some jurisdictions) he needs to know where I live (i.e. my "business address"), and he has no way of knowing that the address listed at my ATA profile page or on my ProZ.com profile page is where I actually live, and or whether those two profiles are simply a made-up online identity of a bottom-feeder agency that impersonates real people.

It would take a client quite a few steps to verify my identity (including e.g. my address) independently, and he would need to know exactly which steps to take. These steps would be different for each translator. In my case, my contact details are registered at the Dutch chamber of commerce, here. To get registered there, I had to present myself in person, with my photo ID, and they verify my address via the Dutch government's address database, but the client can't know that unless he can read Dutch and knows how to google for that information.

Fortunately, some of my chamber of commerce registration details are viewable to the public, and this includes my web site address. So a client can be fairly certain that my web site is not a fake web site of someone impersonating me. If the client is willing to pay EUR 3.00 and wait a few days, he can also get my contact details from the chamber of commerce, to verify that they are the same as the ones on my web site and on my ProZ.com profile page.


[Edited at 2016-12-21 20:33 GMT]


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The Misha
Local time: 23:28
Russian to English
+ ...
There is a great system indeed Dec 21, 2016

It's called email. Or even telephone. All they really need to do is contact me directly and ask.

Here's a funny thing though: the ones that I wind up doing business with never do. What they want to know is whether I can do the job, and we usually find that out quickly and easily enough to our mutual satisfaction.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
+1 Dec 21, 2016

Mischa took the words right out of my mouth

Identity, verification, security, confidentiality etc etc FFS

They send, we do, they pay, simples


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:28
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Out of proportion Dec 22, 2016

Samuel Murray wrote:

If a client lands on my ProZ.com profile page, he can see my web site address and my e-mail address there, but that is insufficient, because my profile could be fake. If he wants to sign a confidentiality agreement that is legally valid, then (in some jurisdictions) he needs to know where I live (i.e. my "business address"), and he has no way of knowing that the address listed at my ATA profile page or on my ProZ.com profile page is where I actually live, and or whether those two profiles are simply a made-up online identity of a bottom-feeder agency that impersonates real people.


Do you truly believe this has hindered your ability to do business so far? And how is this related to "confidentiality" (as this is what the new ProZ feature should actually be about...), anyway? I have signed countless NDAs and SLAs (and refused to sign even more), and not having a "securePRO" verification has never prevented me from doing so, or from working with my clients...

By analogy, do you question the identity and credentials of your dentist, lawyer, accountant, etc. because they could've photoshopped and printed the diploma sitting on their wall themselves? Do you ask them to provide you with a "third party verification" before doing business with them?

Even if that was the case, the moment I have verified WWAs in my profile from real and well known clients, what better proof could you need about my "existence" (and reliability)? And, about LinkedIn (or other similar platforms): when my profile is linked here, all you'd need to do is contact me on that platform as well, and voilà, problem solved (BTW, I'm also backlinking my ProZ profile on my LinkedIn profile).

All of this does really sound unnecessary and exaggerated, and, as you yourself wrote before: "It's probably just something that very few of us have thought about until now that the Plus membership includes it". Is this a "real" need if very few of us ever thought about it until now?

There is a huge difference between satisfying needs and creating new ones... (and in this specific case, I see the latter quite unfavorably, to use an euphemism)


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
@Samuel Dec 22, 2016

Samuel, you said: "It's enough for me, but is it enough for a client who cares about such things? Remember, the value of an identity verification service is that clients don't have to figure out how to verify your identity themselves."

I have been translating for about 20 years now, signed numerous contracts and confidentiality agreements, and no agency or direct client has ever 'cared about such things'. If anyone ever does, they can ask me directly. I certainly don't care to pay higher proz.com fees to become a card-carrying identity. I agree with Mirko, this seems to be creating a need that I doubt exists in reality.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Update on Miicard Jan 9

Samuel Murray wrote:
It also requires you to tell it your banking login details (and you can/should change your banking login details directly afterwards).


I just had a mail from the Miicard guys to tell me that changing your banking login details after revealing them to Miicard will invalidate your Miicard, since Miicard now logs into your bank account regularly.


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