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Fraud Prevention Blog

A New Chinese Counterfeit Problem: Fake Driver Licenses

Posted by Sean Trundy on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 @ 11:39 AM

As if it weren’t already difficult enough to verify identity documents, now comes a new wrinkle in the game – high-quality counterfeit driver licenses produced by overseas factories.

Chinese Fake ID Image resized 600

As detailed in this story on ABC News, several websites based outside of the United States are actively selling false U.S. State Driver licenses that are nearly impossible to distinguish from the real thing unless the person checking the ID has access to sophisticated ID authentication equipment.  

These high quality licenses contain barcode and/or mag-strip data that matches the information on the front of the license. Thus, establishments that conduct age verification using devices that read this data and calculate the age are being fooled. Also, some of these documents have been equipped with UV security features, although, fortunately, it seems these features are often quite generic in nature and do not match the exact designs produced by each individual state. Still, unless someone really knows what to look for under UV (on THAT topic, please read This Article) then they can accept a fake ID based on the UV test, as well.

While this type of counterfeit ID activity represents only a small fraction of the total number of fake ID’s in circulation, it does highlight a very important fact that anyone involved in accepting ID’s as part of their standard business process needs to consider.  Counterfeiters are ALWAYS innovating.  The playing field is constantly changing, and with each successive generation of fake documents and identity theft, the quality achieves greater and greater fidelity to the original design.   This means that processes and systems that USED TO work for identifying fakes may no longer be sufficient.

If your business is involved in the practice of conducting “covered transactions” as defined under the Bank Secrecy Act (opening a transaction or asset account, creating or managing credit account or other extension of credit, opening safety deposit box or other safekeeping services, operating a cash management account, offering custodian and trust services, or facilitating money-order payments and/or money transfers) then you are obligated to conduct valid testing of the ID documents used by your customers during these transactions.   If you want to learn more about what you can do to overcome even the most sophisticated fake ID documents, then click here and fill-out an inquiry form.

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Topics: identity theft, I-9 compliance, Employee Verification, bank secrecy act, authenticating driver's licenses, counterfeit ID

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