I was an idiot and sent my passport and address to a scam artist I was hoping to rent an apartment from abroad. Luckily, I realized the trickery before sending anything else or any money. Unfortunately, the person is now using my passport and photos of me to lure in other people.

I have two questions:

  1. What should I do now to try to stop them from using my identity?
  2. Am I at risk of further identity theft e.g. breaches that would be damaging to me, not just harmful to others?
  • 1
    I'm flagging his as off-topic because the question, although useful, seems not to be about computer security. Law is probably a better place for this type of question. May 10, 2016 at 9:54
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    @S.L.Barth Does the title of the site say "Computer Security"? No. It says "Information Security". And the documents mentioned by OP are, by their very definition, types of information.
    – Polynomial
    May 10, 2016 at 11:07
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    @Polynomial Strictly speaking, yes. I've looked at the Help Center and arguably one could even say that this question is about "incident response" or "physically securing assets". But all of that feels like a stretch - I believe the scope of this site is the (in)security of information technology. IMO this question is just outside that scope. May 10, 2016 at 11:36
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    This is definitely not off-topic. @sadrenter, What country? China? May 10, 2016 at 13:01

1 Answer 1


1) There is truly nothing you can DO to STOP them from using your identify in the current manner. The best you can do to impede them is to essentially "cyberstalk" them and report their every attempt to defraud someone to the system administrator or security team of the website they use to do this. So essentially hit the 'Report Abuse' link.

It gets hairy here. It's now a he-said she-said situation. To put some weight behind your claims, and as recommended as one of the steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft, you should to file a police report to substantiate your claims. You can do that in their state & country and/or in your state & country. The laws within the U.S. do not completely cover situations of this nature, so I would not expect the laws in that country to be so much more ahead. Moreover, realize this is now an 'international incident'. So the agencies pathways to handle this are probably not established. (When my ex had their credit card # stolen and recreated, while they still had the physical card within hand, the police agencies of both states were not equipped to handle this situation. Filing a report was like inserting ourselves into a pinball machine.) And a situation of this nature, crossing country lines, is probably not high on InterPol's to do list.

2) Yes and no. While there is a lot of information on the 1st page of your passport. The thief now has a clear picture (you mentioned photos in addition to the passport copy), your full name, D.O.B, state of your birth, your passport number and possibly a clear signature (if you copied the 1st two pages). While this alone is not enough for ID theft, it's working framework for the scam artist to build a case up around. They now have your email address and depending on their sophistication they can start to try to search for the other pieces of your ID puzzle (16 big pieces listed below).

While it seems like their motivations are not as lofty now, you could be an addition to their database for further mining. It might be best to take some precautionary steps. A good website for ID theft information and actions to take if you are a victim is: https://www.privacyrights.org/identity-theft-what-do-if-it-happens-you

Be sure to save your documentation of the incident (email exchanges, reports you filed, requests you made to credit bureaus, etc). Just continue to monitor your credit like you should normally be doing www.annualcreditreport.com (the only site authorized by federal law).

If any of your accounts (esp. the email account you used in the exchange) have a password that uses information on that passport page, or any other information you make have sent to this person, change it immediately.

As it relates to the harm of others, there is nothing you can do other than put out a public-service-announcement-of-sorts on the websites that the scam artist is listing on.

Good luck to you. Just keep your eyes open going forward.

  • 2
    Eric, I respectfully disagree with your edit. I believe people need to know why someone makes a recommendation. This article manvsdebt.com/top-16-pieces-of-your-information-identity-thieves-crave/ is further confirmation that the scam artist didn't get a complete picture. However, we do not know the full details of this exchange and the OP needs to be able to assess if he created a bigger picture than originally thought. Secondly, this article sendsonline.org/2011/06/29/… shows how the complete picture can be found.
    – eTo-san
    May 13, 2014 at 0:09
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    @EricG - I think your edit was a bit aggressive as it seemed to go against the OP's wishes. I'm not sure you made it and you didn't leave a comment explaining. May 10, 2016 at 14:27

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