We are frequently being asked by prospective clients whether we can provide them with references from past cases of clients who have obtained Bulgarian citizenship.
Most often we are asked whether we can provide references from clients from particular country. We are not certain why exactly, but such requests usually come from Chinese clients. What they really need is to see Bulgarian passport with an Asian looking picture on it (preferably Chinese).
What we have to explain every time is that providing references is first of all illegal (except in some special cases, more on that below). Secondly, providing references is absolutely futile.
The false sense of security
In general, references are not a bad way for a business to prove to its prospective clients that it’s genuine. But references need to be verifiable. Without the possibility to verify the authenticity of a reference, the client will get what we call a “false sense of security”. This is much worse than no security (or trust) at all.
As you can imagine, throughout the years, we have dealt with many clients, each with his own story. And many of them were victims of unscrupulous “agents”. And most of those “agents” were well equipped with huge portfolio of “references”.
Every scammer will show you ton of references and issued Bulgarian passports. You can find such freely available on the internet to download and customize. Serious companies (we know there are only a few) will not be willing to show off their success stories by disclosing their clients’ personal data.
People who buy things on eBay and Amazon are quite happy to leave feedback for their purchases. But high-net-worth individuals who obtain investment citizenship cherish their privacy. And we are sure that you too, after having obtained your new (Bulgarian) citizenship, will be reluctant to have your details being shared as references, right?
The legal conformity
As professional legal entity we are bound by strict EU privacy rules and the GDPR. We can of course share client’s details as reference with the client’s explicit permission. But even in these cases, we are not allowed to share any personally identifying data, such as passport scans, etc.
The final word
If you are just in the starting stage with an agent and he is eager to provide you with personal references for his investment citizenship clients, we would recommend you to run away. This is a clear sign that this “agent” is either lacking legal knowledge on privacy issues or he is blatantly unprofessional. Most often however, this is a sign of a scam. Stay on alert and please read our related articles:
Citizenship scams in Hong Kong
Second Citizenship scams in HONG KONG