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Identity theft averted by good citizen

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Shannon Bochinski did a good deed when she discovered she had been accidentally handed a passport that didn’t belong to her or a member of her family.

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Shannon Bochinski did a good deed when she discovered she had been accidentally handed a passport that didn’t belong to her or a member of her family. Photo Store

When Shannon Bochinski got home from a weekend getaway in Fargo with her three children, she quickly realized something wasn’t right.

"When I walked through the door, my husband said that the Emerson border called to say that they gave us the wrong passports. We took a look at them and we had an extra," explains Bochinski, who works at Thunder Rapids Fun Park in Headingley.

Losing a passport is a serious matter. Passport Canada explains that "when an applicant has had more than one passport stolen, the case is reported to the Passport Program Integrity Branch for further review. If the facts surrounding the thefts reveal that the holder was negligent, the Passport Program may refuse to issue a passport or postpone the issuing."

Bochinski took matters into her own hands and used Google to find a phone number to contact the woman whose passport she had. She remembered that the car in front of her at Emerson was from Alberta, so she started with the one match and left a message.

The woman phoned her back the next day but Bochinski was uneasy. She quizzed the woman on what kind of car she drove before agreeing to hand over the passport.

"I then proceeded to tell her that her lights were malfunctioning. She laughed and said she would go and have a look at them right away," Bochinski says.

"She was with family from Winnipeg when they went down to the United States for a shopping day. When they realized a passport was missing they called the border.  The customs official was adamant that they did not have it," Bochinski says.

"Someone suggested calling home and checking her machine, and that’s when she heard my message."

The two made arrangements and the passport was quickly in the proper hands again.
Information on passports can be dangerous if given to the wrong people.

Passport Canada explains that a "stolen passport may fall into the hands of persons who could use the identity in a criminal manner."

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