US Customs and Border Protection is sounding the alarm about fake IDs after revealing that officers seized 14,504 fraudulent identification items at the Port of Cincinnati in 2020. Those numbers represent the take from a single port, which indicates that the problem is much larger on a national scale. FaceTec, for example, has previously noted that CBP seized 19,888 counterfeit driver’s licenses in six months in Chicago alone.
The haul in Cincinnati included social security cards, passports, and visas, in addition to various kinds of licenses. It also included holographic stickers and laminates that could be used to manufacture fake credit cards and identity documents in the future. According to CBP, the stickers and laminates were usually packaged with blank cards.
While fake IDs are often associated with underage drinking, CBP argues that the true threat is much more insidious. Most notably, fake IDs can be used to perpetrate multiple forms of fraud, through the creation of synthetic identities that are sophisticated enough to get past current fraud prevention systems.
“Fake documents are associated with identity theft, public benefit fraud, and human trafficking, and terrorists use them to evade travel screening measures,” said Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie. “Our officers and specialists are trained to recognize fake identification documents and they are dedicated to protecting innocent civilians.”
FaceTec CEO Kevin Alan Tussy has similarly warned that a flood of fake IDs could undermine the entire digital economy, since companies would have no way of knowing if a customer is legitimate. The fake IDs would instead invalidate electronic Know Your Customer protocols and make it more difficult to establish trust between businesses and consumers. Tussy has advocated for the use of biometrics backed with liveness detection to combat the problem, because it would give authorities a secure way to verify the authenticity of a digital ID.
The overwhelming majority (97 percent) of the fake documents taken in Cincinnati were shipped from China and Hong Kong.
FaceTec’s liveness detection technology has been deployed in Jumio’s digital onboarding solution.
January 5, 2021 – by Eric Weiss