How to Spot a Fake ID
Counterfeit ID and passports are a serious risk to the security of the country and to businesses. For pubs, serving underage customers can result in a £10,000 fine or even the closure of your premises. According to Frontex, the number of fake IDs at the border has increased by 70% and the techniques for creating them are becoming more sophisticated.
The black market sale of fake IDs is booming as legislation changes force people to declare their legal status. This influx of counterfeit passports and IDs increases the likelihood of people encountering them.
A recent study of 1,013 people revealed that more than 60% of Brits are unable to correctly identify a fake passport. This is a serious problem for many businesses across the UK. Transactions such as buying a car, going on a date, renting a property, or even a small business owner needing to carry out a right-to-work check are all targets for scams and fraudulent activity.
Types of Fake ID
Government guidance explains that there are five types of false documents:
- A genuine document which is being used by someone else
- A genuine document which has been altered
- A genuine document which has been fraudulently obtained
- A fake document which is a copy of a genuine document
- A fake document which is a form of ID that does not exist
A real document used by someone else is a common trick for underage people buying alcohol or trying to get into clubs. Using an ID that has been altered or belongs to an older sibling carries a £5,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Fraudulently obtained documents include passports that have been stolen, while counterfeit documents are often the product of organised crime.
It’s harder to determine the validity of foreign passports and IDs if you are unfamiliar with their design. This makes them popular targets for fakes.
How to Spot a Fake Passport
Passports are essential pieces of ID if you’re making large purchases, renting a house or getting a job. Businesses need to protect themselves by knowing who they are entering into contracts or financial commitments with.
The government change UK passports slightly every 5 years to prevent the production of genuine-looking fake passports.
Authentic UK passports must be the correct size and feature a digitally printed photo with a holographic overlay. They must feature the holder’s signature, a nine digit number on the first page and a perforated serial number throughout the pages.
The number of pages is important too. Passports issued after November 2015 have 34 pages. Passports issued before November 2015 have 32 pages (48 for a business book).
You can identify a fake passport by the following features:
- An invalid expiry date
- Personal details that have been amended or tampered with
- An incorrect number of pages for the time it was issued
- A photograph that isn’t digitally printed
- No holograms or perforations
- No passport chip
- Words, signatures or pictures in the wrong places
Spotting a Fake UK Driving Licence
The most common fake ID includes those that look like driving licences, such as national identification cards, European or international driving permits and provisional motorcycle licences.
Photocard licences were introduced as a result of an EU directive requiring all member states to issue driving licences in a card format which contains the licence holder’s image and signature.
UK driving licences include the holder’s photo and signature, along with address and national insurance number.
Driving licences are designed to be difficult to forge and possess many features that are hard to copy. The driving licence also has tactile surfaces, tactile engraved text, changing colours, as well as complex background designs.
You may spot a fake driving licence by the following features:
- An incorrect flag image
- A plain or simple-patterned background
- A photograph in the wrong place
- No signature/an incorrect signature
- Fake holograms
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Currently, the lack of knowledge and access to identity verification tools means that people lack the resources to protect themselves from professional fraudsters. Fortunately, our counterfeit detectors are able to identify fake documents, such as driving licences and passports so you can protect your business.
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