Reporting Lost Or Stolen Passports To Guard Against Identity Theft

 

Identity theft is a major concern today. If you have ever known someone who is a victim, you realize how much effort can be involved in repairing the situation. That is why it is important to prevent identity theft when at all possible. You probably know the basics: “guard your social security number,” “only use secure websites when giving your credit card,” etc. However, there is one document that can make it very easy for an identity thief to strike – your passport. That is why it is so important to report a lost or stolen passport.

Reporting

You should take two immediate steps when you discover your passport is missing. The first is reporting it as missing (or stolen if that is the case), and then taking steps to replace it. The US Department of State is the organization in charge of issuing passports and dealing with such issues as missing or stolen passports. The phone number you should call is: 1-877-487-2778, or you can fill out and mail in a document DS-64 (Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport). By reporting this situation, you can help protect yourself—and you’ll give the government warning that someone else may have your passport so they can address the situation and help ensure your documents are not being used by someone else to travel outside the country.

Replacing

After your passport is reported stolen, you will want to seek a replacement. If you are traveling outside the United States in the next two weeks, you will need to rush this process. Make an appointment to apply in person at a Passport Agency or Center (you can find the full list on the US Department of State website. This rush process can normally get your replacement passport to you within eight days or less. If you have more time and are not planning to travel in the immediate future, you can go through the standard passport application process. Even if you do not have a trip in the works, it makes sense to go ahead and replace your passport—it’s better to have things taken care of just in case you have to schedule a last minute trip.

Reporting your passport lost or stolen is not that difficult of a task. If you act quickly and remain proactive, you can often prevent identity theft from occurring. In addition, if you take care of your missing passport and request a replacement right away, you will not be stuck waiting for one to arrive so you can make a planned trip.

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