Translation agency asking for a copy of ID - is this ok?
Thread poster: Celine Grossemy

Celine Grossemy
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:21
English to French
Jan 16

Dear all,

I have recently started applying to some translation agencies. I am completely new to the world of freelance translation, having only done volunteer translation work so far.
After taking an online test for one of the translation agencies, they reached out to me by email asking me to send them a copy of my CV, a link to my website or Proz profile and a copy of my ID.
While I don't mind sending them my CV and a link to my profile on Proz, I am not so sure about a copy of my ID and I was wondering whether this is common practice for agencies to ask for such things?
I am well aware of all the scams that translators face everyday, and maybe I am being too careful but I thought I'd rather ask an experienced community before sending them anything.

Thank you for your time,

Céline.


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 03:21
French to English
+ ...
Tell them... Jan 16

...that you would be happy to send your ID just as soon as you receive a copy of the company owner's ID.

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Maria Teresa Sammarco  Identity Verified
Romania
Member (2017)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, it happens Jan 16

Dear Celine,

It is a quite common practice, I was also asked the same many times. In some ways they want you to prove your identity, probably also your native language.
So do not feel be scared about it!

Best wishes

Maria Teresa


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Never happened to me Jan 16

I think they should only ask for a tax residence, asking the ID to a freelancer is not common and in my opinion also not legit.

CV and tax residence are enough


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Discussed many times - most of us wouldn't provide it Jan 16

Judging by forums where it has been discussed in the past, most of us wouldn't provide it, as it is personal and not related to our business.

In many countries official business, tax or VAT numbers are issued, making it possible for others to verify the existence of a given business.

See for example:

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/314893-send_copy_of_passport_to_agency.html

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/311227-is_it_normal_and_ok_for_a_company_to_request_a_copy_of_a_freelancers_identification.html

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/297661-agencies_asking_for_id.html

https://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/276832-proof_of_id.html


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
No need to feel scared, I agree Jan 16

Maria Teresa Sammarco wrote:
It is a quite common practice, I was also asked the same many times. In some ways they want you to prove your identity, probably also your native language.
So do not feel be scared about it!

Just politely refuse to divulge your personal details to your business client. Your ID is your personal identification. It says nothing about your legitimacy as a business person. They do have to do due diligence, both to protect themselves from money-laundering accusations and to comply with their ISO commitments, if they have any. However, they don't need your ID to do either, and in fact it's useless as it proves nothing in relation to either! A statement from the tax or social security authorities to the effect that you're tax-resident in the UK and/or up to date with payments would be great, as would some sort of self-employment registration certificate. Unfortunately, I believe all of these are difficult to come by in the UK . I would suggest offering them a declaration to that effect signed by yourself.

[Edited at 2018-01-16 12:18 GMT]


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Celine Grossemy
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:21
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 16

Thanks everyone for your comments, and the links to other threads, it has all been really useful.

I am glad to see that I am not the only person feeling reticent to give out this kind of personal documents, and it's not just me being paranoid haha.
Thanks for the suggestions Sheila. Unfortunately, I am not yet registered as self-employed (I am yet to get any paid work) so the only tax identification I have is the one used by my "day job" employer so I am not sure whether that would work in this instance?


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Bo Wang  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:21
Member (2014)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Use watermark Jan 17

I was once asked to provide a photo copy of my ID several years ago. I was a little concerned too after I sent it, though nothing bad happened. I think most of the time they just use it for background check. However, we should be cautious on this. Given that we don't know for sure who is a scam, use of a watermark on the copy of our ID would be a good precaution.

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Arne Krüger
Germany
Local time: 03:21
German to English
+ ...
If you have a strange feeling ... Jan 17

... in the beginning about a particular agency, send them a Mickey Mouse picture and await their response. if they are cool, you will get a friendly response, if not: into the trash bin.

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Heike Holthaus  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:21
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
I never comply with such a request Jan 19

I have been asked a few times as well. And have always refused to do so. If I find the remainder of the documents (contract, NDA etc.) agreeable, I send a friendly note explaining my concerns with this practice. Though I have been tempted to ask for the agency owner's ID, I'll reserve that for the time a get an unfriendly reply.

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Joohee Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 10:21
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
Don't send your passport Jan 19

I think it's common practice. Even if you decided to send them your ID, don't send a copy of your "passport"!

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Celine Grossemy
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:21
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone, Jan 19

I decided not to send them any personal documents.

I explained my concerns and they replied saying that they couldn't accept my application unless I send a copy of my ID. But it's not worth the risk, there are plenty more agencies that I can apply to, and I'd rather not have to worry about my personal documents circulating on the internet.

Thanks again everyone for all your insight!


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