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Old 08-13-2010, 07:40 PM   #21
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When I'm driving around in Mexico I keep copies (more than 1) of passport/drivers license, Mexican insurance, tourist card etc. The police there make a habit of taxing tourists for bogus traffic violations....never give them an original document.

Also only keep like 200 pesos in your wallet...gives the option of showing the cop that is all you have and the "fine" will often drop to 200 haha.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:57 PM   #22
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Or ask for the ticket. It is nearly always cheaper than mordita. The cops make 400 pesos a day.
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Old 08-17-2010, 04:48 PM   #23
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As far as passport theft, I'm more worried about the hassle factor for me than about ID theft. My SSN isn't on my passport. But now that I think about it, there is a real risk of ID theft because someone could use my passport, maybe with a replaced photo, to represent himself as me and get access to personal info like SSN.
Someone once told us that there is a big black market for US and other western countries passports. Apparently the goal isn't so much conventional identity theft for financial gain (applying for credit cards after using the passport to get access to a SSN) but just getting into countries without too much scrutiny. A US/Canadian or EU passport gets you into a lot of places without needing a visa. Our son has one of the newer passports with the RFID, but I doubt that they actually put any sort of picture in the RFID data so it seems like the photo could still be replaced easily. Supposedly, a good passport could fetch well into the thousands on the black market. Articles like this seem to confirm that:

Stolen e-passports 'worth millions' on black market - Security - News

We photocopy out passports and keep the copies on our persons at all times in a money-belt under our clothes. Also have electronic encrypted copies online. We leave the passports in the hotel if we feel safe about it. The vast majority of places we stay at are at small family owned hotels/B&Bs so we feel a bit safer than at a big hotel where a million people have a master key.
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Old 08-17-2010, 05:02 PM   #24
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My understanding is that your picture information is stored in the new passports. I can personally attest that even the smaller underdeveloped countries now scan your passport on entry. They pull your picture up, and maybe any records, I don't know. I know that in both Thailand and Colombia, all the immigration stuff is electronically stored, so they can pull up a list of your entries and exits right there.

I can't remember if they scan the passport on exit (I almost sure they all do) but they do have exit immigration and you must be stamped out by an immigration officer. In fact, the USA is the only country that I know of that does not seem to have this concept of exit immigration. When I leave a US airport or drive through a US border, I never interact with US immigration personnel. This is the only country in the world where I have experienced this.

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:00 PM   #25
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My understanding is that your picture information is stored in the new passports. I can personally attest that even the smaller underdeveloped countries now scan your passport on entry. They pull your picture up, and maybe any records, I don't know. I know that in both Thailand and Colombia, all the immigration stuff is electronically stored, so they can pull up a list of your entries and exits right there.
Hmm, is that because they took your picture already and have it stored in their database? The only info I found was the US passports have the storage space to store a picture in there but it hasn't been implemented yet?

Just about every place I've flown into has scanned the passport and a few places have taken my picture including Thailand. I distinctly remember this because I stood in front of their camera grinning like an idiot not realizing that the immigration lady had already taken my picture like 30 seconds before. They got a good laugh outta that!
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:24 PM   #26
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Hi WanderALot, I had read it somewhere before that the image was stored. I just did a quick google search to confirm shown below (actually it is more sophisticated than just image storage). Also, almost all countries are converting over to this form. Here in Colombia, they even required all citizens in the last year or so to change over their cedula (identity card) to a much more robust identity system. I think the USA even requires (or will soon) the electronic passports from their respective countries (at least in many cases) for any foreign national entering the USA.

The U.S. Electronic Passport Frequently Asked Questions

Quote:
What is an Electronic Passport? An Electronic Passport is the same as a traditional passport with the addition of a small integrated circuit (or “chip”) embedded in the back cover. The chip stores:
  • The same data visually displayed on the data page of the passport;
  • A biometric identifier in the form of a digital image of the passport photograph, which will facilitate the use of face recognition technology at ports-of-entry;
  • The unique chip identification number; and
  • A digital signature to protect the stored data from alteration.

What is a Biometric? Which one does the new Electronic Passport use?
A biometric or biometric identifier is a measurable physical or behavioral characteristic of an individual, which can be used to verify the identity of that individual or to compare against other entries when stored in a database. Biometrics include face recognition, fingerprints, and iris scans. The U.S. Electronic Passport uses the digital image of the passport photograph as the biometric identifier that is used with face recognition technology to verify the identity of the passport bearer. For more information on biometrics, please consult www.biometricscatalog.org.
What are the special features of an Electronic Passport?
The special features of an Electronic Passport are:
  • Securely stored biographical information and digital image that are identical to the information that is visually displayed in the passport;
  • Contactless chip technology that allows the information stored in an Electronic Passport to be read by special chip readers at a close distance; and
  • Digital signature technology that is used to verify the authenticity of the data stored on the chip. This technology is commonly used in credit cards and other secure documents using integrated circuits or chips.
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:26 PM   #27
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By scanned, I meant they read the electronic information stored on the passport and compare to both the physical passport and the individual.

My thinking was that the new passports would reduce demand for stolen passports. What do you all think?

Kramer
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Old 08-18-2010, 12:44 AM   #28
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We had a backback stolen in London with a passport inside. The backback was right at our feet in a restaurant and we don't remember seeing anyone even near us. The guys that took it were total pros. They must have used something like a hook on a fish line and slid it away from under our table.

It took a whole vacation day at the embassy to replace it. After that happened we used the passport pouches that fit under your clothes.
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