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Is it legitimate for an agency to ask me for a copy of my passport or birth certificate? Scam?
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Feb 20, 2012

Why on earth would they need this information? I work with many agencies but none of them have ever asked me for this.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 10:48 GMT]


 

Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:06
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not necessarly a scam, but Feb 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

Why on earth would they need this information? I work with many agencies but none of them have ever asked me for this.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 10:48 GMT]


I have come across it before. I never, ever, under any circumstances offer a copy of my passport to anybody and if potential clients persist, the collaboration will never come to fruition (you read too many stories about identity theft nowadays). I have VAT-number which clients can check and that seems to do fine, at least it worked the last few times I was asked for a copy of my passport.


 

Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Was aked this before. Feb 20, 2012

Hi Tom.
An agency in Poland asked me for this info when I was working out of Italy for them. At the time I had not VAT No. and they said that it was for tax related reasons in their country.
I do not know what the law imposed in that instance, but I provided a copy of the passport only after they sent me a statement saying that my info would not be disclosed without my consent.
Since having a VAT No. this has not happened to me again, then again I have worked mostly in Italy and USA.
In my opinion, asking for a passport is a bit much.

Take care,

Vincent

P.s. Actually was a financial institution and not an agency, now that I recall.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 11:01 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not happy Feb 20, 2012

Vincent Lemma wrote:

Hi Tom.
An agency in Poland asked me for this info when I was working out of Italy for them. At the time I had not VAT No. and they said that it was for tax related reasons in their country.
I do not know what the law imposed in that instance, but I provided a copy of the passport only after they sent me a statement saying that my info would not be disclosed without my consent.
Since having a VAT No. this has not happened to me again, then again I have worked mostly in Italy and USA.
In my opinion, asking for a passport is a bit much.

Take care,

Vincent

P.s. Actually was a financial institution and not an agency, now that I recall.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 11:01 GMT]


Thanks Vincent - I've emailed the agency asking them why they need this information since nobody else has ever asked for it.

I'm concerned that even if I edit a scan of my passport to remove some details, it could still be used to create a false identity for someone else. This might, at some future point, involve me in serious trouble. So I'm inclined to give this agency a miss even though it has a consistently good BlueBoard record.


 

Derrio  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Strange Feb 20, 2012

Hi Tom,
I suppose it might depend on the country the agency is in, but after many years of investigating fraud in a previous life, I would be very suspicious. No doubt they have, or will ask for, your bank details. Add those to a copy of your passport/birth certificate and they're well on their way to copying your identity.

Steve


 

Vincent Lemma  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
right enough Tom Feb 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

Vincent Lemma wrote:

Hi Tom.
An agency in Poland asked me for this info when I was working out of Italy for them. At the time I had not VAT No. and they said that it was for tax related reasons in their country.
I do not know what the law imposed in that instance, but I provided a copy of the passport only after they sent me a statement saying that my info would not be disclosed without my consent.
Since having a VAT No. this has not happened to me again, then again I have worked mostly in Italy and USA.
In my opinion, asking for a passport is a bit much.

Take care,

Vincent

P.s. Actually was a financial institution and not an agency, now that I recall.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 11:01 GMT]


Thanks Vincent - I've emailed the agency asking them why they need this information since nobody else has ever asked for it.

I'm concerned that even if I edit a scan of my passport to remove some details, it could still be used to create a false identity for someone else. This might, at some future point, involve me in serious trouble. So I'm inclined to give this agency a miss even though it has a consistently good BlueBoard record.


I agree with you, Tom, maybe not worth the hastle.
The only reason I have mine was because I was dealing with an accredited institution and they took liability for their actions.
Otherwise, it is too risky.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes.. Feb 20, 2012

Derrio wrote:

Hi Tom,
I suppose it might depend on the country the agency is in, but after many years of investigating fraud in a previous life, I would be very suspicious. No doubt they have, or will ask for, your bank details. Add those to a copy of your passport/birth certificate and they're well on their way to copying your identity.

Steve


yes - over time they would have my name, address, bank details, and passport information (or some of it even if I edit the scan of my passport). Perfect!

I think I'll give this agency a miss - but why does it get such good feedback on the BB?


 

Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:06
Member
French to English
+ ...
Which country? Feb 20, 2012

Hi Tom!

You didn't mention which country they are in?

I know here in France, even though I've never actually been asked for these details, there is a curious sort of attitude towards proof of identity, where they seem to seek even proof of your very existence! It isn't enough to say "I'm standing here in front of you!"

Like when I went into hospital, I was given quadruplicate copies of a piece of paper saying I was in hospital (seemingly evident!) — and another 4 when I left saying I was no longer in hospital!

But like you, I'm afraid I would refuse in this instance and pass on to another agency.

BTW, for the bank issue: it's a very good idea to set aside one bank account for receiving customer payments ONLY, and transfer money out of it immediately it arrives; that way, you only have to give out details of an account that will hardly ever have much money in it, and with no associated credit card etc., it would be difficult for anyone to do much harm.


 

Derrio  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
True Feb 20, 2012

Tom,
Not knowing what country the agency is in, I can only make assumptions, and perhaps my views have been tainted by many years of experience.
They may need it to comply with new local regulations (something easily confirmed with a phone call to the head of the agency or some research) but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that a) their email has been hacked (see previous post of a few days ago) or b) they have hired a new member of staff/temp who is seizing on an opportunity. I have dealt with many financial institutions whose staff have been targeted or placed by the 'bad guys' purely to gain personal and confidential information. In other words (without knowing the full details) there is always the remote possibility that the agency itself has no knowledge of this.

Regards


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
UK Feb 20, 2012

Derrio wrote:

Tom,
Not knowing what country the agency is in



Head office is in UK but with offices in Barcelona, Milan, and Qatar.

[Edited at 2012-02-20 11:46 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:06
French to English
Ask why Feb 20, 2012

This issue is something of an old chestnut. Just ask why they want it. What purpose it will serve them. After all, they are asking for something which, although most people (especially perhaps us lot) will in fact have, it is not compulsory to hold, either as an individual living in Britain or as someone running a business. I daresay you have one, as do I, naturally, but any such request much be both valid and universally applicable, regardless of any other, equally valid, concerns.

So dig deeper, ascertain the ultimate purpose (not just a box on screen) and act accordingly.icon_smile.gif


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:06
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Both Feb 20, 2012

Charlie Bavington wrote:

This issue is something of an old chestnut. Just ask why they want it. What purpose it will serve them. After all, they are asking for something which, although most people (especially perhaps us lot) will in fact have, it is not compulsory to hold, either as an individual living in Britain or as someone running a business. I daresay you have one, as do I, naturally, but any such request much be both valid and universally applicable, regardless of any other, equally valid, concerns.

So dig deeper, ascertain the ultimate purpose (not just a box on screen) and act accordingly.icon_smile.gif


They're asking for a scan of either my passport or my birth certificate. Either way, I would be divulging information that could potentially be used to create a false identity for someone else.

I have in fact asked them why they want it, but frankly, I don't expect I'll get a reply.


 

Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:06
French to English
Which is enough, I reckon Feb 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

I have in fact asked them why they want it, but frankly, I don't expect I'll get a reply.


In which case, you'll know where to file that particular request, won't you?icon_smile.gif
Either way, problem solved.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Scan this! Feb 20, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

They're asking for a scan of either my passport or my birth certificate. Either way, I would be divulging information that could potentially be used to create a false identity for someone else.

I have in fact asked them why they want it, but frankly, I don't expect I'll get a reply.


Nor do I. You could understand them wanting some sort of ID for tax purposes, but a scan of your birth cert. and/or passport seems a but excessive. I am pretty much scanophobic all the time anyway and as soon as I hear the word my hackles start to rise...


 

David Singer
Local time: 03:06
Swedish to English
You can obtain an EU Tax Exemption Certificate from the HMRC instead Feb 20, 2012

They send it within 5 days following following a phone call.They just need to know the name of the company, how much it is and what the sum relates to. I did this for an agency in Spain and they were happy to give me the job and wait for the certificate prior to payment. It's an anti-laundering measure.

 
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