This isn’t about a skydiving or Evel Knievel-loving hooligan with an unhealthy need for speed…it’s about selling a fake product with a high-profile as a Frankenstein’s monster face.
National IDs, driver’s licenses, passports, and other government documents are being recreated and sold with facial-recognition technologies. Forged documents are readily available and easily available for economic gain. While we continue to strive for progress, fake documents and counterfeit credit cards continue to make their way into the US with disturbing ease.
These off-the-shelf fakes are being bought and sold for heinous amounts and they are flourishing due to years of price declines. After countless long lines at airports, customs, and border posts across the US, there is now the added headache of dealing with fake documents. With no name or address, fake documents are easy to figure out. If the documents belong to the same person, as in the case of DHS and Social Security Numbers, this is easy, but if it’s a living person, it’s harder to identify.
Worse, the ID’s and passports are loaded with LNP, or LocoNanoPolymer, fingerprint sensors. This workhorse technology gets the job done, and costs have decreased dramatically. But, they can also open up a Pandora’s Box when combined with someone else’s unique identifier.
In addition to airlines and airports, bad guys can buy transportation systems, corporate companies, petroleum, agriculture and more. I believe these industries are at a particular risk.
Most commonly counterfeit identification can be used to open accounts, buy merchandise, take out loans, pay bills, and secure visas and other government documents.
Customs forms, passports, government licenses, health care and education documents and software contain a unique identifier. They are generally considered to be more secure when printed, because there is more metal and protection from moisture. Customs forms alone can contain at least 15 distinct identifiers. In addition to clear identification, national and international laws also require tracking of those IDs.
If counterfeits are being sold or were sold and falsely identified as having a signature or name, they are susceptible to criminal identity theft. Criminals can file false identity reports, obtain social security numbers from the record holder and then use their identity to file false claims. Theft of identity is a powerful tool in an offender’s arsenal of attacks. All it takes is identity, and an individual can identify themselves easily.
I’ve often talked to employees about threats like these and they say that it’s always an easy fix, never a complex one. We have an incredible array of tools to protect against this threat, but that hasn’t reduced the threat.
This is especially true of fake passport and ID cards. There are many companies in this space working hard to protect against these forms of fraud. And they are working hard, but we need them to work even harder. While a number of companies have launched products to prevent or manage counterfeiting, no one has yet come up with a universal solution that works across a growing variety of geographic locations and industries.
On Friday, we marked the first day of National Passport Day. Visit https://www.passport.gov/ for tips and resources to keep your passport in good working order and share photos to remember you as you travel. Visit CFFLDialog.org, and copy in the contact information and tell me that you used it.
For the record, this is not about skydiving or Evel Knievel-loving hooligans.