Demand for British Passports Surge on Dark Web Post Brexit

October 17, 2016

Freedom of Information Act request submitted by British general insurer Esure reveals that 270,000 British passports have been reported missing so far in 2016. A tiny percentage of these passports are for sale on Dark Web for a premium.

In an article by Jennifer Baker titled Dark Web awash with pricey British passports after UK vote for Brexitstates:

The value of a fake British passport has increased by six percent since the vote in favor of Brexit, and is predicted to rise further if rules on European Union freedom of movement change

Each passport is being sold for around $3,360 and upwards in Bitcoin or its equivalent. Restriction of movement across borders from the European Union to the United Kingdom is considered to be the primary reason for the surge in demand for British passports.

While the asking price for smaller EU nation passports remains tepid on Dark Web, experts are warning that instances of British passport thefts will increase by 20 percent next year.

The offline and online black market for British passports is estimated to be around $57 million a year. According to Ms Baker:

The most common hotspots for passport theft included bars and restaurants (14 percent), the beach (14 percent), busy streets (14 percent) and hotel rooms (13 percent). However, it isn’t just overseas as one in five (19 percent) of people reported a passport being stolen from their own homes.

A stolen passport can be used without any hassles till it is reported lost or stolen, and Brexit rules come into force. Even after being reported, the passport can still be used for identity theft and other online scams. Can there be a better way to curb this practice of identity theft, Brexit or not?

Vishal Ingole, October 17, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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