More than 60,000 Britons reported their passport lost or stolen abroad in the last year, figures showed today.
The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) said passports were increasingly attractive to organised criminals and warned travellers of the dangers of identity theft.
A total of 279,000 passports were lost or stolen in the UK or abroad between April 2009 and March 2010, the latest figures showed.
Sarah Rapson, IPS chief executive, said: "It is vital that people take care of their passports, both at home and abroad.
"Passports are increasingly attractive documents to organised criminals.
"Hijacking someone else's identity can help facilitate a wide range of very serious crimes."