Should a passport number or visa number be in the class of personally identifying information, along with things like a social security number, credit card number, and so on? If someone nefarious did get my passport number or visa number, what could they do with it, without having the actual passport?

I know you can use an SSN and a bit of social engineering to get pretty much any other identity document, and a credit card number can potentially get you into a lot of online accounts at the very least, but passport numbers aren't so widely linked to other information and I'm curious about what could be done with them.

Of course I'm not actually about to go sharing my passport number around in public - better safe than sorry, after all.

  • I think answers would depend on which country issued the passport and which country the number was revealed in. As an example, passports become your ID in a foreign country when opening bank accounts, leases, etc.
    – user13044
    Oct 15, 2014 at 5:23
  • 1
    @NateEldredge perhaps so (I didn't find that question while searching), although I am specifically asking about just number itself, not a copy of the passport. No birthday, no home address, no full name, etc.
    – David Z
    Oct 15, 2014 at 6:00
  • combined with some good forgery skills (or a supply of blank passports, say stolen from a printer or warehouse), it would make it a lot easier to create a fake passport. No more need to risk having a passport rejected because the number comes up as a fake.
    – jwenting
    Oct 15, 2014 at 6:53
  • 1
    security.SE might be relevant as well.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 15, 2014 at 7:07


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