Send copy of passport to agency?
Thread poster: Anna Fredrikson

Anna Fredrikson
Local time: 09:09
English to Swedish
+ ...
May 16, 2017

I have been contacted by an agency that wants to start collaborating with me. They are a serious agency with many years in the business and a good Blue Board rating. After I signed their agreement/terms they have now asked me to send a copy of my passport. They say it is an indispensable requirement, without it they cannot send me assignments. (To avoid working with scammers.)
This is the first time an agency has asked me to provide this and honestly I am wary about sending a copy of my passport by email.
Is this normal practice for agencies? How would you react?


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:09
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do not send May 16, 2017

Anna Fredrikson wrote:

I have been contacted by an agency that wants to start collaborating with me. They are a serious agency with many years in the business and a good Blue Board rating. After I signed their agreement/terms they have now asked me to send a copy of my passport. They say it is an indispensable requirement, without it they cannot send me assignments. (To avoid working with scammers.)
This is the first time an agency has asked me to provide this and honestly I am wary about sending a copy of my passport by email.
Is this normal practice for agencies? How would you react?

No, it is not. Not necessary at all. I would not go along.


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
VIES May 16, 2017

They can check the VIES database (if you are VAT registered). That is much more difficult to falsify than an emailed passport.

You are not an employee of theirs but an independent professional service provider.

I would not send my personal identity documents. They are distinct from my business activity. They won't send you their CEO's passport either, I presume, so you can check they are not scammers.

What exactly do they claim make this "indispensable"? A law or some requirement of their own?


 

Anna Fredrikson
Local time: 09:09
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your replies May 16, 2017

Thank you for the replies. I won't send my passport to them and now I have some good arguments if they insist.

 

Eleonora_P  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:09
Member (2012)
English to Italian
+ ...
VIES May 16, 2017

That happened to me once.
One agency asked for my ID or passport to confirm my identity. I told them I am never going to send any personal document and, if they wanted to verify my details, they could just check the VIES database.
At first they seemed to be surprised and a bit bothered ("if you don't send us your ID we can't give you work"), but as I am very serious about this, I told them this way or no way at all.
Luckily they accepted and I could finally work with them.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... May 16, 2017

In the many years I’ve been translating, I’ve never had to produce a copy of my passport and as matter of fact I couldn’t: my passport has expired two years ago and I’ve not renew it as I don’t intend to travel outside Europe for the time being. For tax purposes, I always give my VAT number. Anyway, if I was in your position, I would first of all ask them why they need that information and for the sake of reciprocity I’ll request them a copy of their business registration and/or a certificate from the local tax agency showing that they are up to date with their taxes…

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:09
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Failing any particular piece of paper May 16, 2017

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
They can check the VIES database (if you are VAT registered). That is much more difficult to falsify than an emailed passport.

Really, anything that has your tax office's letterhead plus your name and address should be acceptable. You can blank out the contents. As with the VIES entry, you aren't likely to be in possession of it if you aren't legitimate. As for proof, nowadays anybody can falsify anything. Well, I can't personally as I'm an IT dunce, but I'm sure I know people who could if they were so inclined.


 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:09
Member
English to Italian
Scammers (identity thieves) May 16, 2017

I agree with all that has been said about not sending ID copies.

Just one thing though. If the agency is really worried about scammers, well, telling them to check your Tax ID on the VIES website doesn't really prove anything either, as a scammer that is impersonating you and knows your Tax ID could very well do the same and that wouldn't basically prove anything, except for the fact that there actually is someone with that name and Tax ID registered on the VIES system.

If they really wanted to be sure that you're who you say you are, then IMO they should be contacting you through other channels. E.g. through your ProZ and/or LinkedIn profiles, mobile/landline number, etc.

I very much doubt that an identity thief would also have access to those (especially if they're not brand new and contain verified info and feedback).


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Methods of payment May 16, 2017

Indeed, in the modern socially-digitized world it's just a matter of couple software pieces and a short research to pretend (almost) anyone.

However, once I was pleasantly surprised when a potential client wanted to check my ID... paying $10 to my personalized banking card) Nope, no deduction, and I also could make sure my client was serious and real.

As for my passport/ID copy, I also won't send it to strangers.

[Edited at 2017-05-16 14:59 GMT]


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:09
French to English
VIES May 16, 2017

Everyone in the EC can obtain a VAT number, even if you are not registered for VAT.
You just need to contact your tax office to obtain the number.


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It's not that black and white. May 16, 2017

If I'm actually being offered a real job, and it's a reputable agency, I'll jump through any seemingly pointless hoops they place in my way. The provision of ID could be a requirement for ISO certification, or for government bodies having confidential documents translated.

If they're just adding names to their database because it's a Friday afternoon and they have nothing else to do, just say you'd be happy to provide ID if and when they send you work.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
dark gray rationale May 16, 2017

Just a piece of cake: If one demands something unnecessary, then it's "black"--a big red flag.

Could be? Phil, how many anonymous happy clients asked and got your IDs, and what else you're ready to send them just to get some work, I wonder? What was the very need-be reason? And (hopefully) you never got into troubles, no? Lucky)

For over 15 years remote clients have NEVER asked me or my colleagues for a passport copy.
The only way I could provide my ID is personally, when they provided theirs; no exceptions.


 


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