Every year, thousands of Irish passports are stolen in scams targeting travelers.
A new video released from the UK Foreign Office reveals four of the most common set-ups criminals use to get your most valuable document.
James Freedman, a fraud and stealth crime expert who worked on the video, says: “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," he adds.
"Trust your instincts and be aware of anyone invading your personal space.”
The Irish Independent has suggested several ways to keep your passport safe.
1. Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of stranger who seem overly interested in you.
2. Don’t carry your passport around with you unless it is absolutely necessary. If possible, carry personal ID and bring a copy of your passport or passport card with you instead.
3. Don’t leave your passport unattended in a rental car. Thieves often target rental cars for this purpose.
4. Leave a photocopy of your passport with friends or family when you go on vacation and take a second copy with you in case your passport gets lost or stolen. You might also consider emailing yourself copies of important documents so that you can access them from any computer.
5. Check the validity of your passport and check entry requirements before you travel. Before you travel to certain countries your passport must be valid for six months after the date you travel.
6. Don’t lose sight of your passport. Be cautious whenever you put your bags or passport down. Keep them always in your line of sight.
The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, is inviting Irish passport holders to participate in an online customer service survey to help improve customer service and the production and delivery of Irish passports.
The survey can be found at dfa.ie/passport-survey.