Avoid Passport Scams: Use Official Government Site for Applications

If you need to apply for or renew your passport, beware of online scams. Many search results lead to official-looking sites claiming to offer passport services. Some of these are private companies charging for services that are free on the U.S. Department of State website, while others are outright scams looking to steal your money and personal information.

Trust Only the Official Government Site

Travel.State.Gov is the only official government website for passport services. While some legitimate companies are registered with the U.S. Department of State and charge extra fees to assist with your application, these services do not expedite the process. You can apply for a passport just as quickly on your own without incurring additional costs.

Scammers create websites that mimic the appearance of official government sites, using similar names, flags, and seals. They charge anywhere from $60 to several hundred dollars on top of the regular passport fee, promising to help you get a passport. If you fall for these scams, you lose your money and may expose your personal information to identity thieves.

Tips to Avoid Passport Scams

Use the Official Site: The U.S. Department of State handles all passport services. Visit Travel.State.Gov directly to avoid fraudulent sites.

Free Forms: The forms to renew or apply for a passport are free. Anyone asking for payment for these forms is a scammer.

Free Appointments: Setting up an appointment for immediate travel needs is free. The Department of State’s passport agencies and centers do not charge for appointments, and paying someone to do it for you does not speed up the process.

If you encounter a suspicious passport application site or have paid a scammer, contact PassportVisaFraud@state.gov. You can also report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If your personal information has been misused, visit IdentityTheft.gov for assistance.

Stay vigilant when applying for or renewing your passport online. Stick to the official government site to avoid scams and ensure your personal information remains secure. By following these guidelines, you can safely navigate the passport application process without falling victim to fraudulent websites.

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.