The Government’s drive to tackle ID fraud has been stepped up this month as new security processes go live to help stop criminals using lost or stolen passports.
The UK Passport Service
(UKPS) has brought in new procedures to fast-track the reporting of lost and stolen passports - 166,000 last year alone - preventing them being used fraudulently.
From 8 December, if your passport is lost or stolen you will need to complete the new LS01 form to obtain a new one. The form aims to reduce identity fraud by more accurately tracking UK residents’ passport data, and details relating to a lost or stolen passport.
Home Office Minister, Beverley Hughes, said:
“Passports are valuable documents to criminals. They use them to create the multiple identities that help them commit serious and organised crimes, and they are a key document in stealing individuals’ identities. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, costs the country £1.3 billion every year, and can ruin victims’ lives.
“To prepare Britain for the security and technological challenges of the future, the Government is bringing in high-tech biometric passports which will build a base for a compulsory, secure, national identity cards system.
“While we develop these, we are making it more difficult for criminals to use stolen or lost documents. But the public must also play a role - taking care of their passports and reporting them promptly if they are lost or stolen.”
The UKPS is also reminding people to take good care of their passports at home and abroad, as new research1 shows that the public fails to take basic steps to protect their most valuable personal document:
? 23 per cent of people would not think to check their passport after a burglary;
? Only 7 per cent keep their passport in a safe place at home;
? 61 per cent haven’t filled in the emergency contact details in the back of the passport; and
? 37 per cent carry their passport with them while abroad rather than putting it in the hotel safe.
The UK Passport Service also reminded people today that they need to allow adequate time to replace lost or stolen documents - particularly if they are planning a Christmas abroad - as essential security checks mean that it can take at least a week to replace a lost or stolen passport.
The research also shows that the public have a worrying ‘last minute’ attitude to checking their passport before a trip, which could mean many missing Christmas holidays:
? 17 per cent start looking for their passport one day before a trip;
? 15 per cent start looking only a few hours before a trip;
? 7 per cent have had a last minute panic because they were going away and either didn’t have or couldn’t find their passport
? 3 per cent have left home for a trip abroad without their passport.
Bernard Herdan, Chief Executive of UKPS said:
“Your passport is an important document and people need to look after it properly. They need to keep it safe, and make sure they have it and that it is valid well before they need to travel. If people do lose it or have it stolen and don’t report it at once using the UK Passport Service’s new reporting arrangements, they run the risk of having their holiday ruined, and still worse, their identity may be misused by criminals.”