A criminal that has your information can take over your life in a variety of different ways: he could take out a loan in your name, he could empty your bank account, or he could even rent a car and simply not return it, leaving you with the bill. The possible uses of a stolen identity are varied and numerous to the savvy thief, but before he can truly put the stolen identity to use, he’ll need to have a physical identification card ready in order to ‘prove’ his identity whenever it is questioned. And thanks to the REAL ID Act, ‘proving’ his identity may have gotten a bit easier…
Accurate identification papers are essential to safeguarding financial and legal transactions as well as many other sensitive exchanges. Specialty ultraviolet lights are important instruments used in the fight against fraudulent presentation. The right detection tools can augment existing fraud detection practices while empowering your employees and agents with greater defenses against the use of false identity documents.
Topics: identity theft, verification of ID, Employee Verification, authenticating drivers licenses, authenticating driver's licenses, counterfeit ID, ID Verification, fraud prevention protection, fraud prevention
Recently, in Brooklyn, a man successfully made a $1,500 purchase using fake identification at a department store. It was not until he tried to continue his identity theft spree at a nearby Best Buy that he would be caught. Shortly after his successful attempt at Kohl’s, the man attempted to make a purchase at a Best Buy store, where the suspect tried purchasing $945.32 of merchandise on an existing store-credit-account, without presenting the card. He asked the cashier to look up the card information using his name and date of birth. In order to verify his identity, the employee asked him for his drivers license. The employee recognized the New Jersey DL that he presented as a fake. After notifying the store manager, the authorities were called and arrested the suspect.
Identity authentication is rapidly becoming an issue of great concern to the banking and other financial service industries. In 2012, more than 12 million Americans had their identities stolen. 2013 was on pace to break this record number when revelations from several prominent retailers detailing the theft of nearly 75 million account records changed things. Preliminary estimates are that nearly 90 million Americans were compromised in 2013.
There are a number of ways to achieve compliance with anti money laundering regulations by authenticating ID documents. Relying on the skill of bank managers, clerks and other front line applicant processors is not one of them.
In a recent speech to the GOP faithful, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney held up Arizona’s immigration control program, which relies heavily on a public database called E-Verify, as the model for the nation. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens during public discussions, it made for a better sound bite than a practical plan.
Romney told the crowd “I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on E-Verify”, the database that would allow employers to determine the immigration status of applicants. He cited a reported 14% drop in the number of illegal immigrants in Arizona as proof it worked.
If elected, he promised to export the Arizona model to the nation at large: “I will make sure we have an E-Verify system and require employers to check the documents of workers, and to check E- Verify." Mr. Romney did not have command of all the relevant facts, however. The E-Verify database only checks the names on documents for employment eligibility. No effort is made to check on the authenticity of the documents themselves.
If the documents presented are forged, the entire logic of E-Verify breaks down. Illegal immigrants with stolen identities will easily circumvent the checks because that identity they assume does have legal status. In short, E-Verify will only catch the low-hanging fruit from illegal immigrants. Those even slightly more sophisticated will be able to obtain a counterfeit driver’s license and social security card using information taken from an unsuspecting victim, and will easily pass the check.
This is not a new discovery, either. Back in 2010 an independent evaluation of E-Verify by Westat, a Rockville, Maryland-based social science research firm, commissioned by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service) Office of Policy and Strategy found that more than half (54%) of the unauthorized workers flagged by E-Verify were flagged because of some form of identity fraud.
In other words, most of the illegal workers who try to pass themselves off as legal used a stolen identity -- most likely a forged driver’s license or social security card. There are likely many more of them who used forged documents and were never flagged by E-Verify -- which, after all, is not set up for document authentication. That major flaw did not escape the attention of the Society for Human Resource Management, which said the Westat report supports what they have been saying for years -- “that E-Verify doesn’t have the proper protections and safeguards in place for detecting identity fraud”.
The world has changed much since September 11, 2001. Awareness of how fragile our way of life can be, what steps must be taken to protect it and what might happen if we don't, is now a constant part of our national psyche. It is probably safe to say that while the degree of American military involvement overseas may fluctuate with the times and conditions, the War on Terror at home likely will not. Although anti-terrorism efforts are focused on potential overt acts of violence by international terrorist groups, it is specter of domestic covert acts intended to generate funding for terrorism that is at the forefront of our national security efforts.
The Patriot Act expanded the concept of terrorism to include domestic terrorism. The Act states, in pertinent part:
(5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--
`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
`(B) appear to be intended--
`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
`(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'.
Detecting activities intended to finance terrorism is extremely difficult. Financial institutions are not expected to distinguish terrorist financing from other criminal misuse of the financial system. They are, however, tasked with ascertaining whether any transactions are suspicious, either because they are unusual or, by their very nature, are indicative of potential criminal activity.
Money laundering is at the heart of most illegal financial transactions and is made possible through the use of identity theft. Many measures have been enacted to require financial institutions and other businesses to detect and assist the U.S. government in preventing money laundering. These include, among others, the Bank Secrecy Act, regulations from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Know Your Customer Act, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and the Red Flags Rule developed by the FTC.
Underlying these statutes, regulations and rules is the basic concept of identifying the person who attempts to conduct a financial transaction (e.g., a wire transfer, purchase of a money order, opening a new account, etc.) with the intention of ultimately funding terrorism or other criminal activity. Because identifying the person suspected of engaging in such activity is paramount to any criminal investigation, priority is placed on identity verification.
There are many identity verification tools available. The Fraud Fighter™ line of identity authentication equipment provides the degree of technological sophistication and effectiveness necessary to ensure compliance with the laws pertaining to the monitoring of financial transactions and identity verification.
Modeled on the same concepts used to secure IT networks from intrusion, Fraud Fighter™ will optimize organizations' regulatory compliance framework by helping structure an intelligently "layered" approach to the problem. "Layering", in this context, means targetting the appropriate level of technology at the appropriate level of threat. So, for those areas where risk exposure is minimal, lower end (and less expensive) equipment can be utilized, while higher risk activities are equipped with the higher-end, most technolgically advanced soutions.
In the past, fake ID’s have largely been associated with underage drinkers trying to get their hands on alcohol. But nowadays, fake ID’s have become so high-tech that they can be used for much more sinister purposes. For very little money, people can obtain fake ID’s online that trick most detection equipment. To make sure you aren’t falling victim to this new form of high-tech fraud, you need driver license authentication equipment that is able to protect your business.
“Extremely troubling,” is how one Arizona public safety officer described the small items in front of him.“Better than we’ve ever seen” was the reaction of Assistant U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire Al Rubega. And Charles Shumer, Senator from the state of New York minced no words when announcing a need to to “strangle their source of funding” of its purveyors, “and put them out of business.” The object of their alarm? An innocuous-looking laminated card, with an photo, name address and basic demographics of its owner.
By all appearances, a genuine driver’s license. But nevertheless a fake.
An emerging concern for legislators, law enforcement and even ordinary shopkeepers is the level of sophistication built into these IDs, as well as their source -- China. First cropping up on high high school and college campuses, the fake IDs could be ordered through an anonymous email address of a “Chinese guy”: buyers supply the name, address, birth-date and other basic information which appears on their driver's licenses, wire several hundred dollars to a bank account, and in several weeks’ time receive their card from China, hidden in between the packaging of some small item.
Set next to a genuine driver’s license from that state, the two cards look virtually indistinguishable. But these fakes go one step further and imitate many of the hidden security features featured on the cards. Put them under UV light, as do the TSA security screeners, and the proper logo appears. Tilt the ID back and forth and just as in the genuine one, under the text will appear a hologram. Swipe the magnetic stripe on the reverse side into a handheld device, as would the bouncers at many bars, and all your information would be displayed just as on the card.
In fact the only way to trace the card’s origin is to scan the bar code on the back - the resulting readout will have “PARTiTek” appended to the end. The name corresponds to a bar code-encoding firm based in Nanjing, China.
Word of these super-IDs got around to several to several local TV stations, who decided to test them out on several local bars. The results were disconcerting: most of the doormen checking IDs were completely fooled by the fakes. And these are people trained to detect them.
For now, the “Chinese guy” appears more popular among teenagers looking to buy alcohol or enter a club than with terrorists looking to wreak havoc. But the implications of a fake ID sophisticated enough to pass even cursory TSA inspections should give us all pause.
To their credit, some businesses are already taking steps to detect these Chinese counterfeits - investing in better ID readers, which automatically check for all document security features, for instance. State and federal agencies are also fighting back by issuing more and harder to duplicate security features. This makes the need for reliable ID readers all the stronger, as the sheer amount and diversity of the new features will make them nigh impossible to verify with any confidence with the naked eye. Unfortunately, counterfeiters have gotten too good at creating the authentic look of the documents, and are now moving on to duplicating some of the under-the-surface parts. Businesses must develop a way to reliably verify the authenticity of these documents -- or a few teenagers sneaking in will be the least of their worries.
Scenario: A financial institution is opening a new branch, and is starting a major local PR blitz for new customer acquisition. Great incentives are being offered for new account holders, and a large response is anticipated. How does the bank process a flurry of new applications, yet conduct thorough “trust” identification verifications in a timely manner to prevent identity theft?