Are you passport aware? Make sure yours is secure with these top crime-busting hacks.
We all do it; the passport pat down. The moment that you doubt yourself and panic as you rummage through every pocket, drawer and bag, convinced you’ve lost yours.
For most of us it’s a happy ending – I’ve even been known to have it in my hand as I frantically search through my handbag for it… – but for 21,000 Brits a year (according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – FCO), it isn’t.
And thieves can strike at any time, especially when you’re a little more carefree on your summer holidays.
James Freedman, stealth crime expert, said you need to stay one step ahead of the thieves to make sure you don’t become another holiday crime statistic.
“With identity theft on the rise, the actual cost of losing your passport could be thousands of pounds. Criminals and con-men are always evolving the tricks they use to target tourists, but a few simple precautions will really help you to stay safe.”
“Only carry what you really need and keep cash and other valuables in a secure pocket or bag. Remember that if you put bags down, they should always be in your line of sight.
“If you don’t need your passport and other valuables when you’re out and about, leave them at the hotel. Above all, trust your instincts and be aware of anyone invading your personal space.”
Watch the video to see four common techniques thieves use to distract you or steal your passport.
[Related story: How to get a new passport in a hurry and 8 more facts you should know about the essential travel document]
But how do you keep your passport safe? Here are the FCO’s top tips for keeping it secure.
• Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of strangers who take an unusual amount of interest in you.
• A damaged passport cannot be used for travel, so value it and keep it safe
• Lock your passport in a safe if you have access to one, or if you are required to keep it with you, ensure its location is not visible
• Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you, or store an electronic copy securely. Where permitted, use your photocopy as alternative ID, for example when going out at night
• For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go
• Ensure you fill in the emergency details / next of kin page before you go