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FCO launch campaign to educate public on importance of keeping your passport safe

The number of Brits losing or having their passports stolen abroad has increased, the British Foreign Commonwealth have said.

The FCO have bought back their Passport Hustle campaign by using the hashtag #PassportAware, and have produced a series of short videos showing methods of how Brits can educate themselves on prevention methods to stop them from being victims of passport theft, along with ways the con-men can go about stealing the travel documents.

The campaign has been relaunched due to over 21,000 Brits having lost or having their passports stolen in just last year alone. 30,000 emergency travel documents were provided by consulates across the globe.

As well as passports being stolen from thieves in the street, there has been a rise in the number of Brits reporting that their travel documents have been taken from their hired car.

In a statement, the FCO said: “Thieves anticipate items of value such as passports being left in hire cars, so don’t take any chances. Leave your passport in your hotel safe, or keep it with you and don’t give away its location.

“Valuable holiday time and money can be lost if a passport is lost or stolen as the victim may need to report the theft to the police, as well as spend time at the local consulate or embassy so that they can be issued with an ETD.”

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, Tobias Ellwood MP, said: “While we should all enjoy our holidays, it is important that we remain vigilant about valuables - particularly passports. Becoming a victim of theft or losing your passport could ruin your trip and replacing a passport will cost money and valuable holiday time.

By following the simple tips included in these videos you can minimise the risk of falling victim to thieves while abroad.”

Stealth Crime Expert, James Freedman features in the short films. Freedman said: “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.”

The FCO have issued some top tips for keeping your passport safe:

  • - 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 and 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

More information on the campaign can be found on the FCO’s official website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/