Thieves target Brits abroad for passports


Thieves target Brits abroad for passports - 27,000 British passports are lost or stolen

27,000 British passports went missing abroad in 2012, and in 2013, the trend is looking even worse. In the first three months of 2013, one in twenty British holidaymakers have had a passport stolen.

New research by criminologists for LV= Travel Insurance has revealed that British passport theft is on the rise, with five per cent more passports being lost or stolen in 2012 in 2011.

Passports are typically bought by dealers to carry out identity fraud: according to the research, British passports sell for up to £400 on the black market and it's estimated that the total market value for passports sold overseas stood at £11 million last year.

Most passports were reported missing in Spain, Italy and France although the overall statistics for people visiting these countries were relatively low.

Other hotspots are Australia, Mexico and Portugal.

The research, which questioned 2,000 British victims of passport theft and a number of convicted thieves from four countries, suggests that organised gangs are going after passports specifically, rather than target valuables.

According to the study, a quarter of victims reported that only their passport was taken.

The majority of passports are stolen from shops, hotel rooms, beaches, airport departure lounges and bars.
The research found that 18 per cent of the people questioned admitted to carrying their passports in their pockets while abroad or in their handbags.

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= travel insurance, said: "While holidaymakers are often vigilant with their high-value possessions abroad, such as mobile phones, jewellery and tablet computers, our research has shown many are unaware of the true value of their passport."

"We advise people to take as much care of their passports as they do with any other valuables while overseas and be extra careful when in busy tourist areas."

Passports thieves usually operate in busy tourist areas and predominately work in gangs of four or five. issued a warning to holidaymakers travelling to southern Europe over Easter over the rises in theft an pickpocketing earlier this year and The British Embassy in Madrid published a video offering advice to Britons travelling overseas last year.

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