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Requested certification of client documents

Can I refuse this?

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I have just had an email from the National Security Screening agency. They want me to certify 2 items for client, such as passport/driving licence.

I will first need to ask client what this is all about, but it is entirely possible he has requested this. I have never met the client in person and had to do online verification for money laundering purposes, so I am in no position to do any more than say I've done this.

I am really unhappy about certifying that these are true copies. Can I refuse? Should I tell client he needs to go to solicitor to do this?

How would you handle this?

Replies (13)

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By Wanderer
13th May 2019 17:45

I would suggest that you should definitely refuse if you haven't seen the originals.

Thanks (4)
By andy.partridge
13th May 2019 17:48

This is only something you can do face to face.

Thanks (4)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
13th May 2019 17:54

Its probable that they are working on an MOD site or something in the secret squirrel club.

As above, just bounce it back saying what you said here ie " I act for them they passed our MLR checks, but I have never seen the originals & never met the client" and explain to the client why you cant do it.

Stress the "I cant do this" not the "I am not willing".

Thanks (3)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Mr_awol
14th May 2019 12:26

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Its probable that they are working on an MOD site or something in the secret squirrel club.

Doubtful. Certainly (from experience) SC and DV checks are done via an MOD portal, rather than asking some unknown accountant to verify documents that may well have originated from government departments anyway! CTC checks are the lowest level and I think even they are done via the NSVS.

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panda ketteringUK
By ketteringUK
13th May 2019 17:55

You can always ask the client to send you the original passport / driving licence and recent council tax bill via special delivery. Certify and charge him £75-£100 for sundry services for the work outside the scope of LOE?

Thanks (2)
By lionofludesch
13th May 2019 18:30

If you've never met him, I don't see how you can verify photo-ID.

Tell him to call in with his stuff or get somebody more local to do it.

I wouldn't be charging £75-£100 though. Nominal fee perhaps.

Thanks (1)
By Tim Vane
13th May 2019 19:02

The agency you mention, while very official sounding, is just a tin pot little company working out of an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere. They are getting paid to screen your client so tell them to go do it themselves.

Thanks (3)
By gainsborough
13th May 2019 19:29

A financial adviser friend gets asked this a fair bit - he just advises these agencies that he does all his MLR checks online and they will have to undertake their own independent verification procedures of the documents - that usually gets rid of them!

Thanks (3)
The triggle is a distant cousin of the squonk (pictured)
By Triggle
13th May 2019 19:47
Thanks (6)
By Moonbeam
14th May 2019 07:26

What a wealth of advice! Thank you so much.

I agree this organisation is probably a tinpoint concern, and am not frightened of them. I think client probably does need some enhanced security checks, knowing their business plans.
I had already thought of the idea of asking client to come and see me, but that would take a few hours out of his day. So I will suggest this to him and tell him to tell agency I can't do what he requests without that. Agency specifies either accountant or solicitor.
And I agree that I need to charge extra for this, and £75 to me seems very reasonable.

Thanks (1)
By BigBadWolf
17th May 2019 09:27

Surely you can ask the client to come in and meet you, bringing his original documents with, and charge them for it, simples

Thanks (1)
21st May 2019 13:09

Are they merely asking for the documents to be certified as true copies of the originals, or are they asking whether the photos are a likeness of the client? I frequently find people don't understand the difference. Beware the Post Office only does the former, not the latter. The former does not need to be done face to face.

Thanks (1)
By David Gordon FCCA
21st May 2019 13:13

What do you mean you have never met the client?
For any new client you should see basic documents:
Driving Licence, Passport, Bank details, Residence proof.
And get a 64-8.
You should have taken copies of the originals and put them in your files.
Do not be shy, just go and visit the client, or get him to visit you, with the originals.
Apart from seeing necessary evidence, I do not certify anything except and unless I have the client's agreement in writing.
it is not something over which to have a nervous breakdown.

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