Don’t Let Passport Renewal Scams Disrupt Your Vacation

You have an exciting international trip planned and you search online for how to renew your passport. According to the Better Business Bureau, consumers unaware of the passport renewal process may fall victim to online scams that trick U.S. citizens into paying a fee to fill out what should be a free renewal form on the government’s website and provide their personal and financial information. Scammers lure victims with promises to speed up the process, but they ultimately just steal money or identities.

Here are some tips to avoid these scams

  • Do your research. Look up the most recent information on the renewal process. Check with the U.S. government to confirm if online renewal is available. You should not have to pay to fill out the required forms – you only pay for the renewal itself.
  • Never pay to book an appointment at a passport agency. The State Department doesn’t charge for booking appointments and doesn’t work with third-party booking agencies.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to reduce your likelihood of searching for quicker options. Check for current processing times. You can pay an extra fee to expedite your passport renewal.
  • Confirm the website’s URL before providing sensitive information. Remember, government websites end in .gov. Before typing in sensitive information, check that the website and link are secure.
  • Be wary of third-party websites. Check with BBB.org and BBB Scam Tracker first to ensure you aren’t sharing your personal or financial information with a scammer.

As of June 2024, eligible U.S. citizens can renew their passports online or by mail.

Teresa Chandler
Teresa Chandler
Teresa Chandler is a Senior Special Investigations Unit Investigator with ICW Group. She served in the U.S. Navy as a Gunner's Mate for over ten years, with two deployments during Operation Enduring Freedom. She obtained her BS degree in Criminal Justice Administration and was a claims adjuster for over three years before coming to ICW Group in 2017. She is a native San Diegan, the oldest of six siblings (two Marine brothers), a world traveler, a cat mom, and an occasional dog foster mom. She also loves hiking and event planning.

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