Fake ID market bypasses anti-fraud measures

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Despite anti-fraud measures such as ultraviolet ink marking and holographic overlays, a growing underground economy of sites has emerged for criminals looking to obtain and use fraudulent US ID cards according to new research from Flashpoint.

Although only few of these sites can deliver quality fraudulent reproductions, there are some sites with high ratings and positive reviews that can deliver cards which will bypass the security measures protecting legitimate government-issued cards.

Fake ID cards pose a threat to facilities that scan IDs for entry as well as businesses such as banks and other financial institutions that rely on Know Your Customer requirements to verify the identity of customers.

Legitimate identification cards in the US contain complex fraud-protection measures such as the stars on REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses or properly formatted scannable barcodes. These IDs are also made of specific materials that are durable and transmit light in order to support these security measures.

Fake IDs

Flashpoint's research found that vendors running some of the highest-rated illicit shops will advertise their ability to replicate the security features found on identification cards including correctly formatted barcodes, certain micro-printing or laser perforations. For example, a proper barcode is often enough to allow entrance into access-controlled facilities such as government buildings, schools or corporate offices.

The availability of high-end printers is one factor that has helped facilitate these fraudulent reproductions by cybercriminals. An ordinary office photo printer has the capability to reproduce quality products, while laminating machines and plastic card printers are also easy to obtain and use. Ultraviolet ink and other supplies are also available on the open market for anyone to purchase.

Transactions conducted at these fake ID marketplaces are generally carried out via cryptocurrency to protect the privacy of both buyers and sellers and the deliver of a high-quality fake ID can take anywhere from five days to three weeks.

Although even the best fake IDs will likely be detected once they're checked against law enforcement or a DMV database, many of these IDs will be able to pass the inspection of untrained security personnel and a number of off-the-shelf barcode readers.

To prevent falling victim to someone using a fake ID, Flashpoint recommends mandating background checks through a law enforcement agency for new employees and employee training to help spot phony IDs.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.