Is it acceptable (to banks, service providers, etc) if I submit copies of documents* with the word "Copy" rubberstamped on it? I'm thinking of getting a stamp with the word COPY and a blank where I can write recipient, date and purpose.

*Most recently I was asked for a copy of my Social Security card by a bank, but this might apply to other things: identity documents (Driver's license, Passport, State ID in the US)

I'm interested in the answer for the US and India, but I'm also happy to know the situation for other countries.

Edit: The stamp is a low/minimal effort way to reduce the likelihood that a given copy can be re-used by someone else, should they manage to get it: it will take some photoshop to remove the stamp/ text.

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    Who says that the person whose identity you are stealing didn't give you those scans with the "copy" stamp already on them? – Philipp Apr 9 '17 at 19:46
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    Interesting idea, but in my opinion it wouldn't really prevent any fraud. Identity thieves aren't obtaining your Social Security card "image" from your bank or employer and using the image as-is. I would imagine that the vast majority of this type of fraud happens electronically. If a physical card is needed, they would make a new (fake) card, rather than trying to pass off a photocopy. – Ben Miller Apr 10 '17 at 10:52

For many of the identity documents you mention, original documents need to be present to verify their authenticity. It is the legal responsibility of those banks to verify that you are who you say you are. Whether or not they will accept your copies will reflect their own policies and standards for verifying identity.

The law does require that employers see original documents when filling out the I-9 form, for example, but there's no legal reason why they would have to make their own copy of those documents to keep on file. They could certainly use your copy if they want to allow that.

  • Example situation that happened two weeks ago. I applied for a new banking service through my bank branch. An employee filled out my details on a computer, looking at my original ID and SSN card and made photocopies of ID and SSN. I was told the processing center will verify the details and destroy the photocopies with <N> days of service being activated. – kabZX Mar 10 '17 at 17:43
  • @mabZX, what will providing your own copy with a time and date on it accomplish? – quid Mar 10 '17 at 17:46
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    @quid presumably the recipient information with the date and time prevents it being copied and provided to someone who uses it for a purpose not authorized. It also links the document back to who it was originally provided to if it should show up somewhere else. (I'm not suggesting this couldn't easily be circumvented, but it's more of a countermeasure than most privacy oriented consumers use.) – Nathan L Mar 10 '17 at 17:50
  • @quid Updated my answer; Nathan L is correct. It is certainly not foolproof, but the gains to effort ratio is pretty good. – kabZX Mar 10 '17 at 17:52
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    @NathanL, when I was doing ID verification with an online bank it took two tries for my ID to be accepted because my initial scan was 200 dpi B/W, they wanted higher resolution and grayscale. I'd imagine you'll get at least some static if something is obscuring the document being submitted. And to that end, you don't need a stamp to write something on a document. – quid Mar 10 '17 at 18:05

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