Copy of your ID please

I’m interested to hear if someone has some knowledge or experience on this topic. I might be the only one who gets uncomfortable when companies ask me for a copy of my ID.

I often read in the newspapers about people having their identity stolen. Fake ID books are used to get credit cards and run up debt or various other things resulting in an innocent person being blacklisted and having to spend much time and effort to sort it out. Not to mention people being ‘married’ without their knowledge to illegal immigrants looking for residency permits.

What does it take to steal someone’s identity? Surely if you have a copy of their ID book you are well on your way? That ID book can then be replicated with a different picture and off you go.

This is why it surprises me that companies can so freely demand that you send/fax a copy of your ID. I just phoned to have some details changed on an account and they want me to fax them a copy of my ID. The other day I was sent something by courier and they wanted me to give the courier a copy of my ID! With all these people, who I don’t know and who are not accountable, having access to my ID, surely there is some danger.

These companies don’t seem to have any policies and procedures in place to protect your privacy. When I tell them I am concerned about faxing my ID they act like I am a wierdo. They try and ease my fears by saying “don’t worry, only I will see it and file it”. That’s great, but who are you and who has access to those files?

Maybe I am over reacting, maybe it’s not at all risky to have your ID out there for general perusal. I certainly hope so. Comments anyone?


7 responses to “Copy of your ID please”

  1. Jeanne

    I find this amazing too. Almost every TV show or talk show (both local and international) covers the topic of identity fraud. And to top it all, KFM radio are currently running a competition where you have to SMS your name and ID number in order to enter… Do they not watch TV or read newspapers? I think people need to be much more careful – even all the sms competitions advertised on TV are just opportunities for companies to get your details and bug you with all sorts of arb sales pitches, policies and nonsense! And every call always starts with “Hi, is that Miss X? – How are you today? When you hear that, you should just hang up automatically… it’s bound to be some poor telesales person who thinks they’ve landed the sales job of the century by calling random people to sell them stuff! Enough already!

  2. What I find freaky is that even if you’ve given a company a copy of your ID, the next time you go there, they want another copy. Take my bank for example.

    I went into my branch to transfer money from one of my accounts to another (credit card to savings), which I usually do online, but the site was down and I needed to get the money in urgently as I knew a stop order was going off that night.
    So I rush to the bank – I can’t remember the conversation exactly, but here’s a basic summary:
    Enquiries: Good afternoon, sir (it was about 14:45)
    Me: Hi there, I need to transfer some money from my credit card to my savings account, please.
    Enquiries: Sure. Do you have your ID with you?
    Me: Er … (stuff it) … no, but I do have my ATM card which authorises me to draw actual cash from the ATM. Can you use that to identify me?
    Enquiries: I’m sorry sir, we need to make a copy of your original green ID book…
    Me: Oh … what have you done with the previous 20 copies you’ve made of my ID book?
    Enquiries: We send those to Joburg, sir … we don’t keep them at the branch. If you don’t have your ID book I can’t help you. (What on earth does joburg do with 20 copies of my ID?)
    Me: But I’m not even taking any money out, just transferring it from one account to another … and I have my Drivers licence with me.
    Enquiries: Sorry sir, we need to see you ID
    Me: Can’t you use my signature to identify me? After all, that’s all I use to spend thousands of rands out of my credit card and that’s the account I’m transferring from.
    Enquiries: No sir, I need your ID
    Me: I don’t have time to go home and fetch my ID book and get back here before you guys close and if I don’t transfer the money today my stop order will bounce.
    Enquiries: Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you if you don’t have your ID, sir… next please!

    Needless to say I was unable to transfer the money in time, because by the time I went to fetch my ID and got back, the bank was closed.
    What is that about? Is there nobody at the bank who can be accountable for a customer service decision like that when it is obvious that you are who you claim to be and have three other ways of proving your identity: ATM card, my signature, (both of which allow money to be paid out of my accounts) and my Drivers licence (take my thumb print if you want).

    There has to be a better way!

  3. I agree with Kevin. With your driver’s licence, you have a finger print and a whole range of info that the green id book does not contain. I have lost my ID on more than one occasion, cos the damn thing is so bulky, you tend to misplace it. On the other hand if you don’t have it, you screwed, so what do you do. I recently lost my ID, and got a tempory id, and then the bank wanted the reciept from home affairs that I paid for my id (a flimsy till slip BTW) as well as an affidavite stating that my origional ID was lost and that this tempory id was valid. Funny thing an affidavite, you can write whatever you want, and the sergeant just stamps away, guess he can see I am a trustworthy soul 🙂 Anyways, my local video store has a great idea, they have a webcam so when you opened your account, they take a picture of you, so when you ride past you see the video store and you think hey, let’s get a video, they ask for your card, damn….I left it out cos I did’nt think I waould be hiring a video today and unfortunatly my master card takes preferance. No problem sir, name address, types it in and voila, my webcam pic comes up, yip same dude, cool no problem. Perhaps the banks could buy a webcam with all the bank charges they accumulate. Oh no wait, they scared that we gonna do a Mission Impossible, and wear identical replica face masks !!!

  4. i just want to find out why and who blacklisted me and for how much

    1. You can get a free credit report which should give you that information here:

  5. Anonymous

    Dubious ethics surround the growing practice of refusing PREPAID business without ID. To name but a few: Afrihost ISP, Digitalplanet store, Kalahari bookstore, Telkom AKA Hellkom, …

    I’m not sure how the “we’re trying to avoid fraud” statement holds up when paying prepaid. ID functionality creep from initial government-only related functions (eg voting) to the PRIVATE sector is an erosion of privacy the 21st century is willy-nilly embarked on.

    Without wanting to sound like a hobgoblin tabloid, we should bear in mind that “sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice” (Clark’s Law) and that “the road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference” (Ian Kershaw).

    Our by and large mass indifference to our own erosion of privacy, could well foreshadow Orwellian consequences, the onset of which precludes proletariat proaction.

  6. Djeez i had a guy from the Speedpoint credit card machine at the tasting room here yesterday to service it… at the end he wanted me to put my signature on his fancy cellphone – it is getting sent electronically to the bank apparantly. I obviously refused to sign – what are they thinking??