The Foreign Office has warned holidaymakers about the techniques used by hustlers to steal passports after more than 21,000 British tourists lost or had theirs stolen abroad last year.
Consulates around the world had to issue more than 30,000 emergency travel documents to globe-trotting Britons stuck overseas.
That means Brits spent around £4.5m on replacing their vital travel documents in order to get home.
James Freedman, a fraud and crime expert, has joined forces with the FCO which has launched an online campaign called #PassportAware to advise Brits on how to avoid being targeted by thieves.
The four most common scams include someone posing as an official or police officer and asking to look at your passport before walking off with it, as well as pickpocketing by distraction.
Thieves will also target hotel front desks while holidaymakers are busy checking-in, filling out forms or paying their bills.
Tourists are also advised to be on their guard while relaxing and to not tempt thieves by leaving bags out of sight and draping coats over the back of seats, making it easy for criminals to reach into pockets.
Mr Freedman said criminals and conmen are always “evolving their tricks”, but a few simple precautions can help people stay safe.
“Only carry what you really need and keep cash and other valuables in a secure pocket or bag,” he said.
“Above all, trust your instincts and be aware of anyone invading your personal space.”
The FCO advise making photocopies of passports for identification, locking documents in a hotel safe and ensuring they are not visible when carrying them.