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Passport Renewal Scams

Humour me if you will. Imagine you are standing beside one of those red letter boxes about to post a letter and a stranger approaches you and offers to drop the letter in the box for you if you pay them £40.

Ridiculous right! And yet every year thousands upon thousands of people are taken in by passport renewal scams.

Scammers do not discriminate, all they understand is the colour of money

These scammers will target anyone and everyone - they do not look at background, age and income level.

The relative low cost of web design has meant that passport renewal scams are on the increase. What makes it even more difficult is that when you search for, "passport renewal" on Google the top results tend to be from companies that offer passport checking services. The question has to be asked why Google allows these companies to still appear so prominently in search results.

Passport renewal scams are a game of numbers - the more people click on these websites the more likely it is to pay for a service you are likely to pay for a service you really do not need. What makes it even more difficult is that fact the these passport checking service websites are designed to look like government sites, even seasoned internet users have been fooled by these sites.

If the the truth be told no one is completely immune to becoming a victim of a scam. With that in mind information is the best weapon available to fight scammers.

Types of Passport Renewal Scams

Passport renewal scams general come in two variations, that is:

  • Passport renewal checking service providers

  • Premium rate number

Passport renewal services providers

Passport renewal checking providers will charge you anything between £30 to £250 for filling in the passport form and posting it to the Passport Office on your behalf. You will still need to pay the official passport renewal fees for your passport to be processed.

The remarkable thing is that this passport renewal scam is not illegal and because these companies are often at the top or near the top, of search rankings, it just increases the chance that someone mistakenly hands over they cash thinking they are dealing with an official government website.

The "This is Money" website says you should avoid using the following passport renewal checking service websites:




Admittedly most of these sites tend to have an official sounding name. So buyer beware.

Use the official government website if you need additional information on passport renewal in the UK. You can use the site to fill in passport renewal application form online, can also use the secure payment system to pay for your passport. Passport costs are £72.50 for an adult, £46 for a child, free for those born before September 2, 1929. Applications made through the Post Office's Passport Check & Send service cost £82.25 for an adult and £55.75 for children. Premium and fast-track services are also available.

Use the Post Office check and send service for peace of mind

The Post Office check and send service costs £9.75 and will give you:

  • Peace of mind - you are using a reputable organisation

  • Security - your passport is will be sent using registered secure delivery

  • Avoid delays - application form is checked for mistakes

The Passport Office state a third of applications are returned due to mistakes. Mistakes mean additional time to process your application.

Premium Rate number

Simple put the website asks you to call a premium rate number at a cost per minute of between £1,50 to £3,00. The call then gives your a list of automated responses, which then gives you information on how to renew your passport. Most calls to the premium rate number tend to last 10 minutes, which equates to getting charged between £15 to £30 for information that is available for free!

All the information provided on the premium rate is available on the government official site for free.

7 things to do make your passport renewal application process hassle free

  1. The most important thing - do not leave it until the last minute

  2. Use the official, real HM Passport Office website to make your online passport application - it's free to use.

  3. Use the good old paper application form which you can pick up at any Large Post Office.

  4. Read the guidance booklet enclosed in the application pack - this could prevent delays and misunderstandings.

  5. Beware of Premium-Rate telephone passport advice services - if you need further information call the Passport Office adviceline on 03002220000 (local rate)

  6. If you need your passport urgently use the fast track and/or premium service

  7. Be cautious of entering confidential information into websites. Do your research first, ask questions!

If you have been a victim - report the passport renewal scam to Action Fraud

Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud reporting centre where can report fraud if you have been scammed or defrauded. Action fraud is a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime. People are scammed, ripped off or conned everyday and the way this can be stopped is by talking about it.

Buyer Beware - Copy cat websites

Be on the look out for third party websites that offer renewal or application services for the following services and yet do not add any value.

  • Driving Licences

  • European health Insurance Cards

  • Land Registry

  • London Congestion Charge

  • Tax Returns

Need more help?

Call the passport adviceline for the following help:

  • General Enquiries
  • Passport Tracking
  • Urgent Passports
  • Help Filling Forms
  • Which Documents to Send
  • Photo & Signature Requirements
  • Application Timescales
  • Reporting Lost/Stolen Passport

Local Passport Offices