The Fake ID Epidemic: What can be Done?
New CSDL Report: The Fake ID Epidemic
Every day, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit driver's licenses are presented for identification to businesses across the United States. Many times, these fake IDs are used to deceive banks and retails stores for financial fraud and scams, while other imposters use them to board airplanes and access secure areas. The huge scale of counterfeit ID sales presents a direct threat to public safety and our nation’s homeland security. A new report published by the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) points to five ways to combat the widespread fraud.
The report, “Counterfeit IDs: A National Security, Public Safety Threat”, acknowledges that most of these documents are used by minors to purchase alcohol and enter nightclubs, but others are used by career criminals, leading to millions of dollars in financial losses incurred through imposter fraud. While these crimes are more frequent, no one should ignore the significant danger of terrorists using counterfeit IDs to buy explosives or guns to hide their trail. Each year, the courts address many instances of identity thieves who use counterfeit documents to hide their past criminal histories, such as drunk drivers and sex predators, and the terrorists who seek false driver’s licenses to carry out their attacks - one of the Boston Marathon bombers had a reading list full of how-to guides on ID counterfeiting.
“The al-Qaeda training manual explicitly instructs operatives to obtain fake IDs - a key part of the process of their attacks,” said Max Bluestein, Director of Research for CSDL. “This directive was followed by the 9/11 terrorists and these documents continue to be play a crucial operational role in many of the 60 major terrorist plots uncovered since.”
Preventing Fraudulent Passport Applications
New CSDL Report: Preventing Fraudulent Passport Applications: Driver's Licenses are Key
The United States Passport is a near universally accepted travel document that is intended to prove both the identity of the bearer and his or her U.S. citizenship. This also makes it one of the most coveted travel and identity documents for fugitives, terrorists, and identity thieves who need to change or disguise their true names of record.
Passports are often used fraudulently in connection with crimes, including narcotics trafficking, alien smuggling, and even terrorism. In 2006, nearly 1,500 fraudulent and counterfeit U.S. Passports were intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at U.S. ports of entry, and over 2,500 new cases of passport and visa fraud, including application fraud, were investigated by the U.S. State Department.
Bag of fake IDs leads to fraudster
September 30, 2013 (File photo)
In Australia, a GOLD Coast serial fraudster lived large on fake identities but his elaborate scam came crashing down when he accidentally left behind a bag of illegal IDs at a Hungry Jacks restaurant.
Nicholas Savidis, 61, yesterday pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud, forgery and uttering and received a five-year sentence.
The former money lender had already served two years behind bars and walked free from the Southport District Court with his sentence suspended for five years.
The court was told Savidis assumed different aliases over seven years to open up credit cards, club and electricity accounts and to create fake driver's licences.
In February 2006 he left a black bag at Hungry Jacks in Burleigh Heads, Australia which contained a driver's licence in his real name and driver's licences, credit cards and other ID, with his face beside different names.
After realizing the bag was missing, a panicked Savidis phoned the restaurant offering staff $1000 for the return of the bag but it was handed to police.
Detectives raided his Robina home and found documents in false names, and equipment used to construct fake IDs.
Further raids found more documents and an investigation revealed he racked up $91,000 in debts.
Savidis also opened a St George Bank account under a fake name and passed $1.2 million through it from 2005-2006.
An official said Savidis had once been a successful businessman with a family but he had now lost his marriage, businesses and health.
Document Security Alliance and CSDL Host Capitol Hill Day
Fake ID bill helps security
By Andrew Meehan, 4/29/13
Fake identification cards - that is, counterfeit IDs, not legitimate ones obtained through fraud - are becoming a big problem for business and police. There's a booming market for fake IDs, creating dangerous risks to public safety. For example, virtually all of our transit and domestic airline security checks depend on the integrity of driver's licenses and state-issued ID cards.
Overseas websites producing high-quality counterfeits have been on the rise in recent years. These new foreign-produced IDs closely mimic some of the physical security features of our nation's driver's licenses, such as holograms and micro printing.
The counterfeits also include matching information in the bar code on the back of the licenses, making scanning the license to verify its authenticity nearly impossible. They can be purchased for $50 to $200 (discounts are offered if you buy more than one) and are shipped to the United States hidden inside cheap novelties, shoes or games.
Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License presents Kansas with its Document Security Excellence Award
April 10, 2013
The Washington D.C. based national non-profit crime prevention educational public charity presented its Document Security Excellence Award to Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan and Director of Vehicles Donna Shelite at a ceremony with Gov. Sam Brownback.
Early REAL ID security upgrades already curbing fraud, crime; better DHS leadership needed to achieve full benefits
On January 28th, 2013, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License and the Heritage Foundation co-hosted a panel, entitled, "REAL ID Realities: Perspectives on the Future of the REAL ID Program." Panelists included Jennifer Cohan , the Director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles, Lori Rectanus , Workforce and Income Security Assistant Director of the Government Accountability Office, and Andrew Meehan, Policy Director of the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License. A video of the panel from C-SPAN is located below.
Andrew Meehan stated, "the REAL ID Act seeks to raise the motor vehicle agencies to a minimum standard. Many states have decided to move beyond that standard while others have remained satisfied with the status quo. For the goal of secure identity to be met, all jurisdictions must participate."
Massachusetts Senate to Governor Patrick: Comply with REAL ID
|State Senator Tarr (Mass.gov)|
Members of the Massachusetts State Senate delivered a letter to Governor Deval Patrick urging Massachusetts's compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. This came after the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License (CSDL) filed a Public Records Request with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) regarding the state's low level of compliance with the federal regulations.