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Thread: Anyone been asked for a copy of your passport for a private deal?

  1. #1
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    Anyone been asked for a copy of your passport for a private deal?

    If you’re not interested in the rest of the story and are just curious to know if I’ve done something potentially stupid I’ll save you the trouble of reading on by saying now that I haven’t :))

    I’ve a watch for sale over on another forum and have exchanged a few PMs with a chap living in mainland Europe who’s expressed an interest. We’ve been discussing the logistics of getting the watch to him and I’d have been willing to hop on a return flight to hand it over in person, but had a PM back saying “yes please I’ll take it. I’ll send you a copy of my passport and can I have a copy of yours please, along with your full name and address.” I’ve replied (perhaps a bit tersely) saying no way am I doing that as there’s no chance I’m giving someone (along with my name and address) my D.O.B, passport number, copy of my signature, etc.

    There’s a chance he’s genuine and just looking for some reassurance I’m who I say I am of course, except he also seemed to be suggesting cash on delivery in his last message, which I wouldn’t have agreed to anyway (ok, maybe I would in part), but if that was the case he really wouldn’t have been taking too much of a risk himself in the first place to warrant the need for it.

    I’ve already had one scammer contacting me with an elaborate story about wanting to buy it for her husband for Father’s Day so I’m a little twitchy anyway, but I was just curious if this is something anyone else’s been asked and whether it may just be more common practice on other fora / in other regions, where perhaps there may not be the same degree of personal data on an ID card?


    EDIT: the guy has been a member on that forum for a couple of years. There were just a couple of endorsements for him in the member references area, so not a whole lot of history to examine.
    Last edited by gcleminson; 9th June 2019 at 14:57.

  2. #2
    I do not think itís unreasonable if someone is dropping £xxxx of pounds on a watch from a stranger.

  3. #3
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    If youíre prepared to fly there I donít see why they need to see your passport. A photo of the watch on the open passport with your name only visible at the most.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by boring_sandwich View Post
    I do not think itís unreasonable if someone is dropping £xxxx of pounds on a watch from a stranger.
    Hmm, he didnít ask me for references though, just a copy of my passport. Donít forget, the UK passport has a copy of your signature on it too.

  5. #5
    I'd Photoshop copies of your documents to provide the level of information you're happy with and blurring out the rest, and if that's not good enough for the buyer, so be it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    If you’re prepared to fly there I don’t see why they need to see your passport. A photo of the watch on the open passport with your name only visible at the most.
    Quote Originally Posted by dkpw View Post
    I'd Photoshop copies of your documents to provide the level of information you're happy with and blurring out the rest, and if that's not good enough for the buyer, so be it.



    Good suggestions. I should have sat on it for a bit rather than sending a knee-jerk response back, but it just felt iffy to me.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    If youíre prepared to fly there I donít see why they need to see your passport. A photo of the watch on the open passport with your name only visible at the most.
    Reassurance that OP isn't selling a stolen watch.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Reassurance that OP isn't selling a stolen watch.
    My passport wouldnít tell him that.

  9. #9
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    My solution deals with it. A dated certificate from an AD certifying the watch (the buyer can call the AD) if that is indeed the worry.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  10. #10
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    I have done this so I see where he is coming from. I did not do address though. I had also checked him up via social media and had a few calls so had got overall pretty comfortable.
    Depending on value (below Ä10k) then if he pays a deposit to cover your flight then I would suggest cash on delivery so no need for IDís.

  11. #11
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    I think main reason from his side is to be able to
    follow up if he transfer funds and then you no show.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    My passport wouldnít tell him that.
    It would tell him who was trying to do so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    It would tell him who was trying to do so.
    Take your point, but if I was a scammer I donít think Iíd be a very good one if I gave my own real-life details when asked?!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    Take your point, but if I was a scammer I donít think Iíd be a very good one if I gave my own real-life details when asked?!
    A real one wouldn't.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP28 View Post
    I think main reason from his side is to be able to
    follow up if he transfer funds and then you no show.
    He was asking what currency I wanted paying in as heíd need to place an order if it was GBP, so I donít think he was expecting to pay me prior to receiving the watch.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    A real one wouldn't.
    Exactly!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    Exactly!
    But until he sees your passport etc. he doesn't know you are who you say you are.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    He was asking what currency I wanted paying in as heíd need to place an order if it was GBP, so I donít think he was expecting to pay me prior to receiving the watch.
    If he is paying cash on delivery then no ID is really required. To cover the stolen/VAT point then he may need you to sign a statement that there are no issues (which is something I have just done also :) buying from a dealer in Holland).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    But until he sees your passport etc. he doesn't know you are who you say you are.
    Up to this point he hasnít asked my full name and I havenít yet given it, so seeing my passport wouldnít really confirm anything. Granted, a copy of the passport (details except name blanked) together with watch as suggested would have been the best response.

  20. #20
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    If your are not entirely comfortable with the deal Graham then donít do it.

    What if if you arrive at said destination and you are robbed of the watch, they know what you look like as you have sent him a photo and as he plans to pay cash you would be well out of pocket.

    Maybe be a bit far fetched but you never know.

  21. #21
    Grand Master SimonK's Avatar
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    It is usual for seller and buyer in private deals in France to exchange copies of their national ID cards - which show photo, address and signature. As I am not a French citizen and the UK doesn't issue ID cards I normally provide a copy of the main page of my passport.

    The request seems perfectly reasonable to me, if one of the parties were a crook and disappeared with the money or the watch then the other party would at least have an official document to provide the police with something to go on. If, indeed, the police were interested. Refusing to supply of copy of your passport would also perhaps indicate that someone has something to hide.
    Last edited by SimonK; 9th June 2019 at 15:45.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by gcleminson View Post
    Up to this point he hasnít asked my full name and I havenít yet given it, so seeing my passport wouldnít really confirm anything. Granted, a copy of the passport (details except name blanked) together with watch as suggested would have been the best response.
    It will confirm when he meets, you are the person you say you are so presumably all above board, not a scammer and nothing to hide.

    I can see where he's coming from TBH.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonK View Post
    It is usual for seller and buyer in private deals in France to exchange copies of their national ID cards - which show photo, address and signature. As I am not a French resident and the UK doesn't issue ID cards I normally provide a copy of the main page of my passport.

    The request seems perfectly reasonable to me, if one of the parties were a crook and disappeared with the money or the watch then the other party would at least have an official document to provide the police with something to go on. If, indeed, the police were interested. Refusing to supply of copy of your passport would also perhaps indicate that someone has something to hide.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    It will confirm when he meets, you are the person you say you are so presumably all above board, not a scammer and nothing to hide.

    I can see where he's coming from TBH.
    Yeah, fair points both of them I guess, and like I say maybe I'm just being touchy given the recent scam attempt (they got kicked in the end) but flip that around and how much damage could a crook do (I'm not suggesting this guy is for one minute - just hypothetically) with your full name, address, passport number, DOB, signature, place of birth, etc..?

  24. #24
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    I've swapped photos of driving licences with the counterparty when buying/selling a watch (and indeed a car) - its a reasonable request in my opinion considering its an international transaction - the buyer is seeking assurance that the watch is not a fake or stolen as your confirmed identity will reduce the chances of either.
    As other posts have suggested, blot out any sensitive information such as DOB and passport number, but I see no reason not to provide your home address

  25. #25
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    For an international transaction it would be something I would be comfortable doing if I had done my due diligence on the other party beforehand. I understand your reservations, but also his.


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  26. #26
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JP28 View Post
    If he is paying cash on delivery then no ID is really required. To cover the stolen/VAT point then he may need you to sign a statement that there are no issues (which is something I have just done also :) buying from a dealer in Holland).

    At least if you find out the cash is hooky- you can direct the police to the person who passed it on? Might recover your watch at least?

  27. #27
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    But until he sees your passport etc. he doesn't know you are who you say you are.
    Just Photoshop a passport with some other blokes details and send him that?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    Just Photoshop a passport with some other blokes details and send him that?
    And you then do what when you meet him to drop the watch off ????

  29. #29
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    I must admit to asking for a picture of the passport on deals with buyers/sellers I haven't dealt with before.
    I provide mine and they provide theirs so it's even handed. If they refused I would be more inclined to end the deal as I don't see the problem in doing so.
    Just means if there are any problems you have some sort of detail on them.

  30. #30
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    Just remember, not a colour copy. It was illegal to take a colour photocopy of a British passport or driving license. They seem to have changed view on this on the basis you know the person you are giving the copy to and the reason they will hold it is valid.

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    Last edited by gerard; 9th June 2019 at 21:57.

  31. #31
    Grand Master VDG's Avatar
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    Very unusual request. I normally ask for the inside leg measurement.
    ICYMI: Millions of women all over the world dressed in PussyHats and oversized Vagina costumes took to the streets today to protest against war with Iran.

  32. #32
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    Have you considered facetime/whatsapp prior to exchanging any details. Whilst on the video call you can take a screenshot of the other person and then exchange id's thereafter if you feel comfortable????

    I done this a few weeks ago in a UK to UK in person trade as I was meeting the person at 11pm.

    Ps Appologies if this has been suggested as I did not read the complete post.

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  33. #33
    I bought a Speedmaster on SC and we allowed the picture of each other passports to be taken and exchange.
    I thought it was a good practice as should something went wrong (me getting a fake watch or him not getting paid).

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  34. #34
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    I wouldnít be prepared to do this. Iím not saying Iím right or wrong but I wouldnít feel comfortable giving a stranger a copy of my passport, and if asked to do so Iíd back out of the deal.

    Simon

  35. #35
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    Perhaps I should add that Iíve been the victim of identity theft twice in 6 years, so that may be influencing my opinion!

    Simon

  36. #36
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    Iíve sent a part copy of my passport for a deal on this forum with a UK member. I think he use to work for HMRC fraud department. Trust has to work both ways, so anything that builds confidence canít be a bad thing. Probably pays to be cautious on both sides.

  37. #37
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    I wouldnít be prepared to do this. Iím not saying Iím right or wrong but I wouldnít feel comfortable giving a stranger a copy of my passport, and if asked to do so Iíd back out of the deal.

    Simon
    I wouldnít feel comfortable accepting £7,000 in banknotes from someone - without a photo of their passport.

  38. #38
    Master murkeywaters's Avatar
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    I asked for a driving license ID once and checked the persons name on google and social media to confirm everything was okay, it was my first 4 figure watch so I was a bit tetchy about transferring that money.

    If your meeting and exchanging money/watch then I canít see the point in giving away your passport details, Iím sure you have past deals and internet history as does the buyer so you can check each other out and verify your commitment, once this has been confirmed the seller can pay for your flights so that his commitment to you without shelling out full funds.

    Itís not the best way to do a deal but if a lot of money is involved and personal details then you both need a element of mutual trust.


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  39. #39
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murkeywaters View Post
    I asked for a driving license ID once and checked the persons name on google and social media to confirm everything was okay, it was my first 4 figure watch so I was a bit tetchy about transferring that money.

    If your meeting and exchanging money/watch then I canít see the point in giving away your passport details, Iím sure you have past deals and internet history as does the buyer so you can check each other out and verify your commitment, once this has been confirmed the seller can pay for your flights so that his commitment to you without shelling out full funds.

    Itís not the best way to do a deal but if a lot of money is involved and personal details then you both need a element of mutual trust.


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    As a colleague once advised regarding audits: ďTrust............. but verifyĒ

  40. #40
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    I've not sold a watch privately before (or anything of significant value for many years) but am considering doing so in the near future. I'd been thinking about what is acceptable security measures and working in an industry where we routinely obtain certified id for all clients, I'd thought about this as a way of both parties having satisfactory proof of who they are dealing with if anything goes wrong. I'd not really thought about any subsequent ID theft/ wrong doing though, so I guess that is a potential downside.

    If obtaining id/ address detail is not normal, what are the acceptable norms of ensuring a safe, private transaction? (This is coming from someone with very little history of online private selling, or social media presence)!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by D4RW1N View Post
    If obtaining id/ address detail is not normal, what are the acceptable norms of ensuring a safe, private transaction? (This is coming from someone with very little history of online private selling, or social media presence)!
    Can't speak for others but normally for me it would be H&V! Not applicable in this particular instance though.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by km9 View Post
    I bought a Speedmaster on SC and we allowed the picture of each other passports to be taken and exchange.
    I thought it was a good practice as should something went wrong (me getting a fake watch or him not getting paid).

    Sent from my SM-A520F using Tapatalk
    I would agree this is the correct way to ensure both parties have some recourse should something go wrong, I personally would not have an issue with my ID being requested.

    If both parties have positive feedback on H&V or you have dealt with the person previously then it would obviously not be required.

  43. #43
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    I would propose to show your passport when you meet

  44. #44
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    Back in contact with the prospective buyer, who's not a member here but has now read this thread.

    Appreciate the comments and suggestions.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elesmy View Post
    I would propose to show your passport when you meet
    ^^^^^^^
    That makes perfect sense. I certainly would not be handing out my ID to a stranger these days.

    As regards handing over wads of cash - I only accept a BT, as large cash amounts are a way to launder money and who wants to check 100s of £20s for authenticity.

    And a lot goes for reputation - always check H&V on here - elsewhere - trust no-one!

    Martyn.

  46. #46
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    Yes,

    I was asked and provided it and required the same in return


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  47. #47
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    Iíve bought and sold cars for some nice sums and when getting payment in cash first stop was a bank before parting with keys/documents, a meet at the buyers bank might allow you to validate and transfer the cash home to save carrying it?
    I bought a car in Swindon cash(as requested), at that time I didnít know England never printed £100 notes, what a carry on getting them approved to do the deal, even bank employees could identify them at first.

  48. #48
    Journeyman turbomolwi's Avatar
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    Done couple of private sales and requested / provided id copies. I think its normal where large amounts are involved .

  49. #49
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    I think some documentation isn't unreasonable but lots of folk have an online footprint that serves a similar purpose. A Skype call with some evidence of ID/address would probably suffice for me but I've avoided 'foreign' transactions as pursuing a debt/fraudulent deal in the UK is more hassle than I need! Any hint of uncertainty and I'd look elsewhere.
    Hope it all goes well if you proceed.

  50. #50
    Master mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    I wouldnít feel comfortable accepting £7,000 in banknotes from someone - without a photo of their passport.
    What a strange comment. Why would you accept payment in cash, anyway .

    Simon

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