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Or: "Do I need to be concerned about emailing people scans of my passport if they want to verify my identity?"

Is there anything anyone can do with the information on the main page of the passport that could be used to hurt the owner in the short or long term?

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  • This isnt really information security (in regards to IT services). – Matthew Peters May 9 '14 at 13:50
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    @MatthewPeters - while it does say IT Information Security as the official title, we generally end up covering a wide range of info sec topics. It's really more or less just an outdated title since it isn't really a practical distinction. Info sec is info sec whether IT related or general. If someone can get your passport info and use it to impersonate you, then that may have repercussions anywhere, including IT. – AJ Henderson May 9 '14 at 15:28
  • @MatthewPeters added "phishing" as a tag to help you sleep better :) – guest May 10 '14 at 9:01
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If someone gets a scan of your passport they could use it for identity theft. People want a scan of your passport to verify your identity. A scammer could use it for the same purpose if they have other useful information like your address, and government IDs such as social security number.

A copy of your passport has useful data for an attacker, like your birth date and place of birth. Place of birth is often offered as an option for security questions for banking or password recovery. And of course there's your picture as well. So if an identity thief got a copy of your passport they would have a some useful data on you right away.

That being said it's sometimes unavoidable to give out a copy of your passport or other identity documents. It may be a requirement for a job, for example. The best you can do is offer more secure ways to send the data (faxing, snail mail, hand delivery, etc), and be vigilant for identity theft. Don't use anything available on your passport as security questions either.

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    It's incredibly trivial to find a persons date of birth on the internet if you know their name and general age. These are public records. Security questions are often very poorly designed, and ask questions that are trivial to find (birthdate), or have low entropy (favorite color). If the only risk is birthdate and place of birth, then passport data sounds relatively useless for identity theft. – Steve Sether Jan 23 '15 at 17:21

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