What do I do About Passport Identity Theft?

I. Ong

Passport identity theft is the stealing of an individual’s passport, usually for the purposes of pretending to be that individual for whatever reason. If you become a victim of passport identity theft, there are a number of steps you can take to control the damage. When your passport is stolen, you typically should contact the issuing authority immediately. It is also recommended that you alert the local authorities as well, both in order to protect yourself from the illicit activities in which your passport identity might be involved, as well as to ensure that any attempt to make use of your passport identity will send up a red flag. If your passport is stolen while you are abroad, you should also contact your embassy or consulate immediately.

Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.
Nations issue passports so that their citizens and subjects can travel abroad.

If you are able to prove your citizenship and identity, you should get a replacement for your passport within 24 hours. You will need to bring a copy of your driver's license and a copy of your birth certificate when applying for a replacement for your passport. The issuing authorities may also request an interview with you and your traveling companions, as well as your friends and family from home. They may also need to ask for an account of how your passport was stolen and for a copy of the police report.

Passports should be secured at all times to avoid identity theft stemming from a stolen passport.
Passports should be secured at all times to avoid identity theft stemming from a stolen passport.

You typically will want to check in with the authorities at regular intervals to ask if there are any updates in the matter of your passport. Also, you could get in touch with the credit bureau to make sure that no one is attempting to make use of your identity to open a line of credit. You may also want to periodically perform an exhaustive check of your credit history to make sure that it is intact.

It can be wise to prepare for such eventualities so that you are ready if passport identity theft does occur. Photocopy your passport before leaving home and leave a copy with your family and friends. Carry the other copy with you and store it apart from your passport. Bring your birth certificate and another document that proves your identity, such as your driver’s license or marriage certificate, and also store these apart from your passport.

You may also wish to bring several pictures of yourself that fit passport picture requirements. It could help if you jot down the date and place of issue for your original passport, which could be part of the information you can provide to prove your identity. These could expedite the process of replacement if your passport is stolen.

Note that even after you get your passport replaced, being a victim of passport identity theft may still lead to some difficulties for you in the future. It may take the passport thief any given amount of time before attempting to use your passport, and this may affect your own passport clearance when you next attempt to travel. You may then need to visit the issuing authority once more and clear up the situation before proceeding on your trip. If you followed the proper steps of notifying all concerned parties immediately as soon as you realized your passport was lost, rectifying the situation should be a relatively simple matter.

Passport fraud is a criminal act that can lead to arrest and prosecution.
Passport fraud is a criminal act that can lead to arrest and prosecution.

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Discussion Comments


A scammer from Talk Talk had my mum give them her password number, the second line, the really long one with the chevrons. At first, they wanted a scan of the passport, I'm really worried, she didn't know she was being scammed, obviously. They are so eloquent and professional, she just thought she needed it as proof of I.D, so I don't know what to do, I purposefully signed up for this so hopefully one of you guys can tell me what to do, as in worst case or who to contact. Does she need to cancel the passport or report it stolen? Thanks in advance.


An expired passport can also be used to prove identity in cases of passport identity theft. And as for the replacement passport, sometimes the embassy can issue an emergency replacement passport if someone needs to return to the US immediately. So it doesn't always take long to get a replacement.


@literally45-- Even though you may not have a photocopy of your passport with you, you should have your passport number. There are passport "cards" that you can fill out and carry with you for these types of situations. It's enough to give law enforcement and embassies the passport number. All of the passport information is stored digitally nowadays, so they can confirm identity that way.

There are also fingerprint systems that the embassy can use to identify persons.


The precautions mentioned in the article would certainly make things easier in case of passport identity theft. Unfortunately, I don't think it occurs to most people to do them. It certainly did not occur to me to take a photocopy of my passport and store it separately from my other ID cards.

So when my bag, which had my passport was stolen overseas, I had trouble proving my identity. It took a while for me to get another passport and I had to extend my vacation until then. I did inform the embassy immediately though and thankfully, no one tried to use my passport after it was stolen. I don't think they were after the passport at all, but it's impossible to know. So it's best to let the authorities deal with that.

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