When a bank card is lost or stolen we’re often very quick to get it cancelled, so why do we drag our heels when passports go missing?
Action Fraud is warning that a lack of action over reporting lost passports could be exposing people to identity theft.
According to the Home Office, 400,000 UK passports are reported lost or stolen each year, but we typically wait 73 days before reporting it.
A passport contains valuable information for fraudsters, including your full name, date of birth and where you were born. With this information, someone could take out a loan, mobile contract, credit card or current account with an overdraft facility.
While it isn’t completely clear exactly what’s stopping people reporting their lost or stolen passports, we can speculate that it may well be one of the last things you’d think about after dealing with a robbery.
For many of us, passports are also a relatively infrequently used form of identification. Most of us will use them only when going abroad, which means that for the rest of the time they’re left in the house, often tucked away in drawers and cupboards.
On plenty of occasions I’ve heard stories of people trying to dig their passports out just days before going on holiday – some have even missed their flights as a result.
They’re also easy to lose in transit: with documentation that you aren’t used to carrying with you regularly, some have even lost their passports in the journey to and from the airport.
ID theft rising
The latest figures from not-for-profit fraud database Cifas show identity fraud is at ‘epidemic’ levels, with 89,000 cases recorded in the first six months of 2017 – up 5% compared with last year.
Cifas believes identities are being stolen at a rate of 500 a day, so it’s never been more important to ensure that our physical identification and documentation is kept safe and secure.
If your identity has been stolen and used fraudulently, you should contact your bank, credit card company, any other lenders and the local police on 101. Be sure to also report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online.
Have you ever lost your passport and not realised? Perhaps after reading this you’ll also be asking: is your passport where you think you left it?