Passport Fraud – How to Protect Your Passport & Avoid Identity Theft
Many people fail to realize until it’s far too late what a serious problem passport fraud is in many countries around the world. When your passport is stolen, it puts more than just your identity at risk – it is often linked to economic crimes, the smuggling of drugs and other contraband, illegal immigration and even something as serious as international terrorism.
Knowing more about what passport fraud is and the steps that you should be taking at all times to avoid it will put you in a much better position to not only protect yourself from these types of situations, but also to have the best possible international trip at the same time.
Passport Fraud and Identity Theft
According to the Attorney General of Washington State’s official website, identity theft is described as the crime that occurs when your personal information is stolen.
Individuals with malicious intentions can use the information contained on your passport to commit fraud, access your bank account or accounts with other financial institution, open up a new line of credit in your name and more.
More than that, the images contained in your passport can be misused in a variety of different ways and the thieves can instantly not only ruin your good name, but take a way the sense of safety of you and your family in a way that you may never truly recover from.
The same website indicates that it takes, on average, around 600 hours trying to rectify the situation when it does occur. To say that it is important to avoid passport fraud and identity theft in general is something of an understatement.
Tips for Preventing Passport Fraud
There are a few key steps that you should be taking in order to minimize your risk of passport fraud and identity theft as much as possible. These include:
Making two copies of your passport, one of which you leave with someone you trust. The second copy should be carried with you when you arrive at your destination. By leaving a copy with someone you trust, at least you have a copy of these documents to refer to in the event that one gets stolen. The second copy will help prevent your actual, authentic passport from being stolen.
Always keep your passport on your person at all times. Never sit it down on a table when you’re enjoying a meal at your destination, for example, as the minute it leaves your body you open yourself up to forgetting it and leaving it behind at your destination.
When you’re traveling between two points, always keep your passport with you. Once you arrive at your hotel, if you do feel the need to leave your passport behind while you’re sightseeing, always use the hotel safe. Do not keep your passport in your room.
If you should lose your passport or if it gets stolen, always report it immediately so that you can begin the process of ordering a recovery document as soon as possible.