How to Prevent Passport Theft

by : William Manor

Last year, two Iranians boarded the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 using passports stolen in Thailand. 

More than 50,000 passports are reported stolen yearly. These are the top 5 countries with the most stolen passports;

  • British Passports (21,000)
  • Spanish Passports (5,000)
  • USA (2,000)
  • France (1,500)
  • Italy (1,100)
  • Australia (1,000)

How to Prevent Passport Theft

  • 1) Always keep your passport in a safe place!
    Never leave your passport in your baggage, backpack, purse, car, hotel room! When you must carry your passport, keep it in a money belt or inside coat pocket. Upon arrival at the hotel, put your passport in the hotel safe. You should never put your passport in your back pocket. 
  • 2) Never lay your passport down anywhere.
    Passports placed on a counter, phone booth or table can be easily forgotten or stolen. Practice the habit of immediately putting your passport away after using it.

  • 3) Don't let one person carry all the passports
    If you travel as a family or as part of a group, don't let one person carry all the passports. The odds are much greater for one person carrying all the passports to lose them or have them stolen than for all the passports to be stolen or lost if each individual owner carries them.
  • 4) Never let anyone leave your presence with your passport 
    When you're checking in at the airport, passing through customs, exchanging currency, or doing anything else that requires you to show your passport, never allow the person examining your passport to leave your presence. If the person starts to leave, call their attention and request to accompany them.
  • 5) Report the loss of your passport immediately
    Immediately notify the local police and then proceed to your nearest Embassy or Consulate. Take the copy of your passport and extra photos with you. You will be issued a temporary passport.
  • 6) Do not attempt to travel with a reported loss passport. 
    Once you have declared your passport as lost or stolen to your national authorities, it is cancelled and considered invalid. The details of the document are passed on to interpol. If you found the passport and try to travel with the document, entry or boarding will be denied. The travel document will be seized.
  • 7) Make two copies of your passport and photos
    Scan a copy of your passport and store it in your phone and a cloud service. This way, you can access it from almost anywhere in the world. 

Carelessness is still the number one reason for a passport to be lost or stolen.