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The Battle Against Identity Fraud: Are You Prepared?


Identity fraud detection poses a significant challenge for companies worldwide. According to a survey by Regula, 69% of businesses are grappling with this problem. We, as a global developer of forensic devices and identity verification solutions, have identified some key trends in identity document forgery this year.

How can the police and businesses protect against identity fraud?

What types of identity document forgery are being used?

Identity fraud has been a problem since the introduction of the first ID documents in the BC era. Fraudsters have developed increasingly sophisticated methods over the years. Here are the basics:

  • Manual alteration. Legitimate documents stolen from their rightful owners are altered by changing or erasing key details, such as photos or names, directly on the physical document. Fakes entry/exit stamps may also be added to passports with visas. These modified documents are often referred to as forgeries.
  • Counterfeiting. These are fake documents created from scratch. Fraudsters can obtain access to real stamps, holograms, ink patches, and UV-resistant paper, and may use old, blank documents as a base to create convincing passports or IDs.
  • Computer simulation. In the digital age, fraudsters can create synthetic identities by combining real data with fake information. They can also easily produce an ID card or driver’s license from scratch using digital services. Interestingly, these DIY creations may sometimes fool specific identity verification systems.

Sometimes, these criminals combine these methods to create counterfeit masterpieces. It’s a complex world when it comes to identity fraud!

Criminal motivations

When investigating fraud, it’s crucial to understand the perspective of the fraudsters themselves and the criteria they use to select which documents to counterfeit.

The money trail

In today’s world, fake IDs and passports have become big business, particularly in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. This is because countries with generous social benefits and financial aid to refugees and migrants are desirable for fraudsters seeking to secure a more secure existence.

Cost of replication

Countries with weak security measures in their passports and official documents experience more identity fraud and fake IDs in circulation. The cost of producing an identity document is influenced by factors like technological sophistication and the involvement of multiple contractors, leading to higher overall costs. Fraudsters tend to select documents with lower security levels for replication.

Customer demand

The demand for specific types of documents also influences fraud. For example, countries like Qatar and the UAE, with high demand for construction workers, have seen an increase in counterfeit passports and visas associated with regions like India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Most common faked IDs

Traditional paper passports are still the most commonly faked documents. However, cases have been observed where fraudsters tampered with photos on plastic passports from countries like Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Fake documents are often used to enter another country, and fraudsters may produce complete sets including a passport, ID card, and driver’s license from the desired country.

Protecting Against Identity Document Forgery: Best Practices

In today’s digital landscape, encountering fake or counterfeit ID cards, passports, or driver’s licenses is a real concern. Implement these strategies to bolster your security and prevent fraud:

  1. Prioritize authenticity

Fraudsters often focus on mimicking the visual appearance of legitimate identity documents but overlook crucial details invisible to the naked eye. Identity verification solutions can pinpoint inconsistencies in the visual inspection zone, alterations in MRZ codes, and missing security elements, which are essential checks for digital onboarding scenarios.

  1. Employ a comprehensive identity verification solution

Enhance your systems against potential vulnerabilities by using a well-structured identity verification solution incorporating user-facing and server-side components for real-time assessment of user information.

  1. Embrace liveness checks

Verify the liveliness and genuineness of both the document and the person presenting it to detect fake printed photos, video replays, or 3D masks.

  1. Monitor fraud detection signals

Evaluate signals such as location intelligence and device characteristics during the identity verification process to detect potential fraud attempts.

  1. Maintain an extensive database

Access up-to-date document samples to spot counterfeit changes and maintain a comprehensive document template database to reduce the risk of false positives when verifying foreign documents.

In conclusion

As technology advances, fraudsters have become adept at counterfeiting identity documents. It is essential for businesses to remain vigilant and implement measures to combat identity fraud and theft, including rigorous verification of identity documents.

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