All US government-issued identification cards use anti-fraud measures like ultraviolet ink markings and holographic indents to stem reproduction of phony IDs and even enforce severe penalties. This rarely deters the rapid growth of underground economy sites enabling criminals to obtain fraudulent US ID cards.
Fraudulent US ID Cards
Experts examine how threat agencies play a cat-and-mouse game with defenders, to bypass brand new security features for those requiring phony identification documents. Few criminal sites deliver quality fraudulent reproductions, but some sites are highly rated within illicit communities, delivering cards that bypass security measures protecting government-issued cards. This threatens ID scan facilities restricting entry, or banks / financial institutions that rely on Know Your Customer requirements to verify customer identity and erect barriers to synthetic identity fraud.
Vendors Advertise Bypass of Security Features
Legitimate USA identification cards incorporate complex fraud-protection measures such as stars on driver’s licenses or formatted scannable barcodes, and are made of specific materials that are durable and transmit light in order to support these measures. Highly-rated illicit shops advertise capabilities for replicating security features like correctly formatted barcodes, specific micro-printing or laser perforations on identification cards. A proper barcode is adequate for entry into access-controlled facilities and is a major risk for government buildings, corporate offices, and schools with entry controlled by access mechanisms attached to ID cards.
High-end printers facilitate fraudulent reproductions by threat actors. A typical office photo printer is capable of reproducing quality products, while laminating machines and plastic card printers also facilitate reproductions. Ultraviolet ink is easily available in the open market. Fake ID producers also obtain actual blanks used by agencies, including laminates that contain the holograms.
Replication of Security Features
Supplies to create advanced security features used by higher-end ID manufacturers, are sold in large numbers by vendors inside illicit communities. Some agencies advertise Optical Variance Ink sheets, holograms, perforated sheets, and cardstock, at very low prices. Transactions via cryptocurrency maintain privacy throughout the transaction process, with quick deliveries between five days to three weeks and payment by prepaid credit cards or wire transfers are accepted. Though quality fake IDs are detected when checked against law enforcement and Motor Vehicle Division databases, these IDs pass inspection by untrained security personnel and numerous off-the-shelf barcode readers /verifiers. The threat to physical safety and fraud risk is enhanced by failure to identify hand-crafted fake IDs for commercial retailers such as liquor stores, or office / school building access control systems which cannot verify government IDs against any high-security database.
Assessment and Mitigations
Entities impacted by threat actors selling / using fraudulent identification can protect themselves. Organisations operating in sensitive industries can mandate background checks through a law enforcement agency for new employees, or for employees with access to sensitive materials or data. Employee training helps public-sector organisations or retailers spot phony IDs. Multiple government agencies offer training on security features used by different US states. Retailers selling alcohol and tobacco could insist on a second identification like a credit card or school identification card. Meanwhile, the game with defenders seeking to bypass newer security features, services a growing underground and illicit economy centred around phony identification documents. Vendors delivering high-quality fake IDs are rated for product quality (feel, durability, look, and acceptance rate), trustworthiness, and security features incorporated in the cards.