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Avoid international travel document scams

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If you are planning a trip outside the US, you have probably been collecting tips on everything from great restaurants to comfortable walking shoes. Here is our contribution: when you search for information online, you may find official-looking websites that offer travel documents, information and services. But some official-looking sites are copycats — imposters — that can put your money and personal information at risk.

The FTC’s international partners say copycat visa websites are very common. One country’s ambassador said an imposter built a look-alike site with pictures, application forms and frequently asked questions copied from the government’s official site. The imposter site offered visa applications, but charged high fees, including fees for services that were free on the official site.

To avoid a copycat site, get your information about international travel, visas and passports from the U.S. Department of State. Type in a country’s name and you will get:

  • links to consulates and embassies
  • a summary of the travel documents you need
  • important local information

You also can search for travel information on websites from a country’s ministry of foreign affairs or embassy. If you find what you think is an imposter site, please report it to the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Very useful info.

thank you. you just saved me from making a mistake

Thank sir, for report!

this is helpful and true but is the FTC aware of the foreign hotels and cruise ships that collect your passport in order to verify ID or keep your passport when the ship goes to multiple countries. What clearances do these people have who take your passports and how do we know where the passports are kept and who has access to them. It is an identity thief's delight and easiest job in the world. When is Homeland security going to stop this practice of allowing hotels and cruise ships to take tourist/passengers passports.

Thank you for the information.

Thank you!Jose

If you remember that the official government sites end in ".gov," you won't go wrong. It is easy to get taken in, though; someone at the SSA office told me that they have to shut down several fake sites per month.

U.S. government websites end in .gov, but websites for governments outside the U.S. might not look the same.

Very confusing information regarding visas to USA. Many are wanting money for a free service. The internet is a minefield for theives.

This is very helpful information, you never now how people will get your personal information. thanks for the very helpful tips!

very useful info...Thanks for sharing this kind of information

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