We don't like handing over our passports to many people. Many of you will have heard of the scam carried out in some countries where people dressed in official uniform ask to see your passport. Of course they are not really officials and ask for money upon your passports return.
We keep a colour laminated copy of our passport page in our handlebar bag for quick access, which says all of the information that anybody should need to know about us on the road. We also have a black and white copy of our visas if applicable.
Be insistent (even for 30 minutes or one hour if you need) that you cannot show your real passport. Make clear to the 'official' that all of your passport and visa information is there if they want to use it, and STRESS that you are a 100% legal tourist.
After a while it will get to the point that the 'official' will give up, and if not, flag down a passing car or pedestrian for help.
For more on keeping your passport safe, click HERE.