Protecting your Passport Information
One of the most important documents you will ever own in the course of your life is your passport. Your passport is your key to travelling the world but it can also be the key to others travelling the world under your name should it fall into the wrong hands.
Your Passport and Information about YouNot only does your passport contain information about you as an individual, it also contains a photograph of what you look like and also the countries to which you have visited. This information which you may take for granted may be something of great importance to an individual who is intent on committing identity theft.
Page 31 of your passport is the most important of all. On this page which is laminated to protect against defacing and the removal of your photograph, you will also find details of you as a person.
Be honest how many times have you looked at your passport with a view to finding out just what information is contained in there?
Your passport contains:
- Your Passport Number
- Your Surname
- Your Given Names
- Your Nationality
- Your Date of Birth
- Your Sex
- Your Place of Birth
- The Issue Date
- The Expiry Date
- Your Signature
All in all it contains a lot of information on that one page which can be used by any identity thief to build up – perhaps not a full picture – but certainly a working framework on which to find out more about you and also to instigate fraud using you as the person most likely to be blamed for said fraud.
This information can be used for many different purposes and more over if you look to the back page of your passport there is a section to be filled out in case of emergencies.
This section of the passport gives details – filled out by you – as to who the authorities should contact in the event of ill health or even death. This information is the an identity fraudster’s dream.
This final page in the passport is more than likely to contain your current address especially if the surnames of those listed is the same as your own.
From this an identity thief can continue to build up their picture of you as an individual and can then replicate your passport using a photograph of themselves or another for the purposes of moving freely through the United Kingdom or indeed the world.
What Could My Passport Be Used For?In today’s current climate your passport could be used for the false identification of an illegal immigrant or for the identification of a terrorist. We are all aware of the circumstances surrounding how such individuals arrive in the United Kingdom and it is important to remember that in order for such individuals to receive passports they have to be stolen from United Kingdom residents.
Your passport is also a means of providing identification to banks, building societies and other banking institutions and is a proven method of identification when it comes to entering into Hire Purchase agreements. With this in mind the substitution of your photograph for another individual’s is enough – especially if said substitution is difficult to detect – for you to find yourself in charge of debt that you knew nothing about.
How Can I Protect My Passport DetailsFirstly where possible never send your passport through the postal system as a means of identification. If you are applying for a bank or building society account do so in your local branch where photocopies can be taken along with other proof of identity such as household utility bills and/or a driving licence.
Whenever possible always keep your passport in a safe place where only you and a partner know of it’s secretion. Never leave it lying around your home or office especially if such premises are frequented by individuals you do not know intimately.
When on holiday always keep your passport with you or leave it in a safety deposit box. Most hotels and apartment blocks will have a facility for you to rent a safety deposit box for the duration of your stay – or they will have a safe that only the manager has a key to open. Never leave your passport in a clearly visible place whilst on holiday and do not leave it in your luggage.