Passport as security Scam
Many rental offices including car and bike rental offices state the requirement of passport as Security Deposits. Once deposited, either the passport gets lost, stolen or given away to ‘someone who looked like you’ or the owner demands compensation for some unseen damage to the car/bike (unseen and unknown to you). He holds back your passport, thereby, leaving you with just about no choice but to pay him. The passport if stolen can be replaced at your embassy, provided you have the details, but it puts you in a tight spot for more than a couple of days besides creating an unnecessary hassle. The passport in itself is sold off and used for terrorism purposes. Did you know the Malaysian Airlines that disappeared recently (March 2014) without a trace had 4 passengers travelling on stolen passports and at least one of these passports was stolen at a rental office?
- Never rent from a place that demands your passport as a security deposit even if the employees/owner show you a heap of passports deposited with them by other travellers.
- Never give your passport to anyone.
- Do not leave your passport unattended.
- Lock your passport in a safe place and carry photocopies of it for any eventuality. You can also scan it and e-mail it to yourself for safe storage and retrieval later on.
- If you lose your passport, contact your embassy and the local police without any delay.