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Passport countersignatory - WWYD?

(82 Posts)
karlmarxthespot Wed 14-Sep-11 19:33:46

Ok, I agreed to be a countersignatory for my NCT friend's baby's passport. Her DP (who i also know) had filled in the form, and I filled out the section on the form and stated that I had known her DP for 1 year. I signed the form and the baby's photo, and thought nothing more of it.

Fast forward to today, and I've received a letter from the passport office asking me to confirm that I have known the person named on the form for the period stated, and that when I signed the form had the person fully filled it in and signed it. They enclosed a copy of the form that I had signed. I'm sure this is a perfectly normal check.

However - I've looked at the photocopy of the form - and it isn't the form I signed! My friend has obviously rewritten the form as I didn't realise you had to have known the person for 2 years. So the form now reads that i have known her, not her DP, for 2 years, and she has forged my signature on the form and on the photo.

I'm not sure if I have a problem with this. I'm wondering whether the passport office are doing a normal check, or whether they can tell that the two signatures are similar?

Would you contact her and let her know that I've seen a copy of the form and know what she did?
Would you tell the passport office?
Would you just go along with it? I don't know what the penalty is for this. I will have to sign the reply letter (or rather get her to sign it so the signatures match!)

Please help!

DownbytheRiverside Wed 14-Sep-11 19:36:18

I have signed a lot of passport forms, and I wouldn't be at all happy if I was involved in a fraud. So no, I'd ask her WTF she was playing at.

Aftereightsaremine Wed 14-Sep-11 19:39:32

I wouldn't confirm under any circumstances not sure what penalties are for this but it would be your head on the block.

Itsjustafleshwound Wed 14-Sep-11 19:41:09

She has been deceitful and dishonest - I would phone her and ask nicely what she is playing at ...

ThatsNotMyBabyBelly Wed 14-Sep-11 19:41:30

No I would not be comfortable with this. She forged your signature?!!! Nice friend

You would be commiting fraud!

unfitmother Wed 14-Sep-11 19:49:54

Tell the passport office - some friend!

weevilswobble Wed 14-Sep-11 19:50:50

Tell the passport office exactly what has happened. You could get into serious trouble. You'll have to tell the friend too. Honesty is the best policy. You will fall out with this friend, but i'd rather that than get into trouble with passport office.

SoundTheOctoalert Wed 14-Sep-11 19:51:37

Don't think it's normal to double-check with the counter-signatory, I've applied for two baby passports and had friends who've also applied/been signatories and I've never heard anyone say it has been followed up. Although I guess they maybe do to beat fraud. Letter does sound as if they think something doesn't match up.

You're in a hard place. You're gonna have to tell the truth to the passport people but you know it will get your friend into trouble. How strange that they went to all that bother in the first place rather than just accept they got the length of time of friendship wrong and starting again with someone else.

Onlyaphase Wed 14-Sep-11 19:55:22

I've done the countersignatory for many passports - more than 15-20 I think - and have never been followed up by the passport office or checked in any way. The office must have suspicions to contact you in this way, so I'd be honest with them.

Tough on your "friend", but what she or her DP has done is fraud, and impacts on you not them.

MaureenMLove Wed 14-Sep-11 19:56:53

I think if they are checking by post, they think something is not quite right.

My mum, as a retired teacher, has signed hundreds of passport forms over about 40 years and she has only been contacted a handful of times - on the phone - for her to confirm things.

AMumInScotland Wed 14-Sep-11 19:57:53

You certainly must not go along with it - its serious fraud. And the kind of thing that gets taken very very seriously - passports are such an important way of proving id.

I would return it to the passport office with the truth.

She sounds like a "baby friend" rather than a real friend, so I wouldn't bother to sugar-coat it to her - she's deliberately tried to implicate you in a serious fraud.

BikeRunSki Wed 14-Sep-11 20:01:30

I have signed loads of passport forms and photos and have never been sent one back to check. I wouldn't re-sign the form they've sent, I think they smell a rat. I am sure your NCT friend must have plenty of suitable people she has known for 2 years or more.

Catsmamma Wed 14-Sep-11 20:02:26

dh had to do a confirmation, the passport office phoned the neighbour/applicant to get them to ask dh to re-sign a fax that the Passport Office sent to them.

SauvignonBlanche Wed 14-Sep-11 20:03:30

Presumably as a potential countersignatory you have some sort of professional registration? Are you willing to risk that - I wouldn't.

EdithWeston Wed 14-Sep-11 20:05:31

I don't quite get this. Why would she need to change the verbiage on the back of the photograph? (You're instructed not to put the parental details there - it's "true likeness of <future passport holder>").

Have you actually known her for the requisite 2 years BTW?

I think you'll need to talk to her about what has actually gone on.

If you have known her, then you can honestly answer the first bit (length if time) - you can then state that you cannot remember whether the form was filled in and signed when you countersigned, but looking at the photocopy, all the information is correct (if it is!).

If however you have not known her/her DP for the correct length of time, then this may be fraud. Think carefully.

going Wed 14-Sep-11 20:05:46

I have never known that to happen to anyone. Tell the truth!

talkingnonsense Wed 14-Sep-11 20:08:15

I sign a lot and have once been asked to confirm my professional qualifications, but never sent a form. Tell the truth.

OddBoots Wed 14-Sep-11 20:11:33

They wouldn't check unless they suspect, you really have no choice but to be honest, as awkward as that may be.

karlmarxthespot Wed 14-Sep-11 20:20:14

Thanks you've all confirmed exactly what I thought. Oh, I'm so upset sad She's my favourite one from the group <waves to rest of group blush> and this will surely destroy our friendship. Well I guess she's already done that herself.

Does anyone know if there's any way she can withdraw an application? Or do I have to work out how to tell the passport office. Arrgh I don't need this right now!

AMumInScotland Wed 14-Sep-11 20:26:28

If you're uncomfortable about dobbing her in (you shouldn't be) then you can always say something to her like "I got the weirdest letter, it seems like there been some odd mess-up to do with your passport forms. Isn't that odd!" rather than actually saying you know she forged your signature.

WideWebWitch Wed 14-Sep-11 20:28:29

Blimey, no, I wouldn't go along with it!

I'd make her fill in the form again and find someone she's known 2 years. (I thought it was 5 years?)

KenDoddsDadsDog Wed 14-Sep-11 20:30:23

It is normal to check with a signatory these days for a first passport. My boss did DDs and they checked with her. My GP did DDs Irish passport and they checked with him.
I would definitely not verify that letter. Can't believe someone would put you in that position.

karlmarxthespot Wed 14-Sep-11 20:51:33

Ok, I'm going to text her to ask her to call me about the application. I wonder what she'll do.

clam Wed 14-Sep-11 21:40:23

What would happen if you just didn't respond to the letter, I wonder. Apart from live in fear of them phoning you and catching you on the hop.

I have sigend dozens of these forms over the years and have never had a query from them. Slightly worrying that they specifically asked you if the person had filled in the whole form before you signed. I would say they're clearly suspicious.

You simply cannot go along with this. The whole point of counter-signing a passport is to assert that you are someone of professional repute. Is it really worth jeopardising this for someone you hardly know? I mean, really, you can't know her that well in just a year. (Although I thought it had to be at least 2 years). And she's shown herself in a rather unfavourable light now anyway.

karlmarxthespot Wed 14-Sep-11 21:44:22

Well I'm annoyed with myself, as I didn't check how long I was supposed to have known them for before I signed the form - but I didn't lie - I wrote one year. I blame baby brain, as I would normally ask to see the support notes.

I'm so annoyed she didn't just realise I wasn't suitable after reading what I had written and ask someone else.

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