Even when your hotel asks for it, don't leave your passport at the front desk. Often they want to photocopy it and keep it for the duration of your stay. Local governments or the central government may also require hotels for copies of their guests' passports.
Vulnerable for fraud
You should be aware, however, that if you allow hotels to copy your passport, you will be vulnerable for identity fraud. Everyone who has a copy of your passport can potentially use it for stealing your identity. That holds in particular if it shows your citizen service number, or tax number, or social security number (depending on the country).
In a substantial part of all cases of identity fraud a passport or some other identity card has been used. Someone who knows your social security number may be able to open a bank account in your name or enter into a subscription, for example a telephone subscription.
Control over passport information
If you allow a hotel to copy your passport, you will lose control over who will have access to the information about you in your passport.
You don't know what the hotel will do with the copy. It may remain at the front desk, where every front desk agent will have access to it and will have the chance to make more copies. But it can also be stored somewhere else.
Make copies yourself
A better solution seems that you make copies of your passport yourself. You may want to cover sensitive personal information while making the copies. In this case you can meet the hotel's request to have a copy of your passport, while reducing the chance that your identity will be stolen.
When a hotel asks for your passport to make a copy just hand over a copy you have made yourself. Then you will be sure the hotel will not have access to sensitive personal information. It is self-evident that you should always remain polite and kind.
Passport is government's property
You can explain that your passport remains property of your government and that you are not allowed to give it to others. Moreover, you need to be able to identify yourself should the police ask you to do so. If you cannot identify yourself, it may constitute a punishable offense. If needed you can allow the front desk agent to compare the passport and the copy.
Passport no guarantee
Should the agent say that your passport serves as a guarantee, you can remind to your credit card that the hotel has entered into its system. This is already a guarantee for the hotel.
Tags: passport, identity fraud, credit card