Agency wants photocopy of my passport
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Jun 25, 2007

An agency in the Netherlands that contacted me through a ProZ colleague asked me to do a desperately urgent translation which I turned round ultra-fast. Now they've sent me their information documents which say that in order to be able to pay me they have to have a photocopy of my passport (or ID card - which is not YET compulsory in the UK) by post - photocopy of driving licence will not do.
I don't particularly object to sending a photocopy of my passport - but is this a normal or reasonable requirement? They said nothing about it before I did the work - incidentally, they have an excellent Blue Board record.
Your opinions would be welcome.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:56
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
See previous thread Jun 25, 2007

http://www.proz.com/topic/71640 might be of interest to you

Steffen


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Birgit Richter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:56
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
disclosing passport details to an agency? Jun 26, 2007

I wouldn't. (and what if you didn't have a passport - you don't have to have one unless you are travelling).

Your invoice will contain the necessary particulars which will enable your client to send payment and it will most likely include your tax or VAT number, which identifies you as a business.

I really cannot imagine what they would need your passport details for (maybe they can explain why not having your passport details would prevent them from paying you - for a job you have already done for them?).

Another reason why I would be very careful with disclosing passport details other than for identifying purposes at immigration borders, banks, etc: the possibility of fraudulent use of your personal data, should they accidentally end up in the hands of an unauthorised third person.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:56
English to Dutch
+ ...
Id-number / Social Security number Jun 26, 2007

Hi Jenny,

My guess is, they want to have some sort of verification. On Dutch passports, the social security number of a person is displayed, albeit somewhat hidden in the document number.
This social security number is required in NL for making a payment and also a freelancer's VAT-number is derived from it.
I don't think I've ever had to send my passport to any agency, but I'm not sure. AFAIK, they don't need to have your passport to pay your invoice. But if you would want to work with them again, it's probably best if you send the copy anyway.

If you want to, you can e-mail me through my profile with details of this company and I'll see if I can find anything on this company through the Dutch Chambre of Commerce. I'll need their CoC/KvK number for that.
I don't believe you read Dutch, do you? If you did, you could post a topic in the Dutch forum, see what the people there think of it. There are some people involved there that run agencies as well, so they should know.

Best of luck!
Margreet


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:56
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Quite common Jun 26, 2007

Hi, it's probably the same agency that asked me for a copy of my ID-card. After that another Dutch agency asked the same thing. Strange enough, the Dutch branch of an international translation agency never asked me for ID.

I just scanned my little card and sent it off, as in Spain I am used to the fact you need the card and your tax number for literally everything.

It is not the agency's fault, but it's probably the Dutch Tax Authorities - they may be slightly overzealous. It's to check the identity of suppliers. It may be more directed towards the inland vendors, but probably, to be sure, they ask everybody.

I would not worry about it. I do think, though, that the agency should have informed you beforehand, so you could decide if you wanted to send off the copy or not.


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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Ask the agency's director for a photocopy of his/her passport Jun 26, 2007

..tell them you need it for tax purposes in your country. Absolutely.

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casey
United States
Local time: 03:56
Member
Japanese to English
How about blacking out the unnecessary portions? Jun 27, 2007

How about photocopying it but blacking out everything that is not necessary? If what they want is your tax number, leave that showing and black out everything else.

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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:56
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I'd ask them a simple question Jun 27, 2007

the question would be "For what purposes do you need my passport copy and information contained in it?"

Please have in mind also one more thing - under the EU legislation governing the personal data protection, passport data is treated as "sensitive personal information" (let alone all those taxt IDs and social security numbers). And collecting of the so called "excess personal data". That would mean that passport copy may be demanded only for the purposes as defined by the law on personal data protection. Well, some things may vary from country to country, but the general principles of the EU legal acts shall be implemented in the national legal acts. I know it because I translated numerous EU docs in this area and our national laws back into English.

In simple words - passport copy is NOT needed to make a transfer - they will not be able to make a transfer if your ID and bank account number does not match. The bank simply will not be able to send the money if something under their database (name, surname, IBAN) does not match. So, asking for a passport copy seems to be irrelevant to the transfer.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 09:56
French to Dutch
+ ...
Love it Jun 28, 2007

Jim Tucker wrote:

..tell them you need it for tax purposes in your country. Absolutely.

Tell them that you can only accept their purchase order if a photocopy of the boss' passport is included. This should be the proof that he really exists.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agency climbs down Jun 28, 2007

NMR wrote:

Jim Tucker wrote:

..tell them you need it for tax purposes in your country. Absolutely.

Tell them that you can only accept their purchase order if a photocopy of the boss' passport is included. This should be the proof that he really exists.


Thank you, everyone, for your helpful and entertaining answers. I emailed the agency objecting to sending a copy of my passport and they have finally replied saying that they don't need it for non-residents of the Netherlands after all, and admitting that even some of their Dutch resident translators refuse to send it but still get paid - so it seems to have been a storm in a teacup.
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:56
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
maybe not a teacup Jun 28, 2007

Why should people give away passport copies or any other things like that for other people when such things are not needed at all? I think the agency simply wanted to drag on with payment and invented as many strange formalities as possible (sorry, we have not paid you yet because we asked to send us your passport copy, your plaplapla, and so on). Moreover, I do not think it was quite legal to ask for a passport copy...

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xxxUndoer of Ba  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:56
English to German
Why would we trust the Dutch authorities?! Jun 30, 2007

So, what do we learn from that? Let's boycott Dutch agencies altogether and have them complain to their lawmakers about lost business.
I already have a long list of agencies to avoid because of potential trouble (available on another translation portal's site).

Apart from that, I think they should have told you about their weird habits BEFORE you said yes to the job. Unless they are a brand new agency, I am sure they are quite aware of that issue.

[Edited at 2007-06-30 15:01]

[Edited at 2007-06-30 15:02]


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