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Identifying Fake Drivers Licenses

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 29 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 82-87
Rebecca Kanable
Date Published
July 2002
6 pages
This article describes new technology that can help detect fake identification.
Today, anyone using the Internet can get identification (ID) templates with holograms, barcodes, and State insignias. Identity theft is big business. Thieves can use someone else’s personal data to take over financial accounts; run up charges on credit cards; apply for more credit cards, loans or other services; and file fraudulent tax returns. In addition, underage drinkers, illegal aliens, people with poor driving records, drug dealers, gang members, career criminals, and terrorists use fake driver’s licenses. It is nearly impossible to tell if one of the 200-plus State-issued IDs is a counterfeit just by looking at it. Forty-one States currently encode data in a magnetic stripe of a 1D, 2D barcode on the back of their licenses. Driver’s license scanners are used to verify age and/or the authenticity of a driver’s license by checking if the ID has encoding and if the ID is encoded to standard without data missing. Scanners are gaining popularity in the commercial market as well as the government market. Intelli-Check developed the ID-Check to verify documents and age. ID-Check is about the size of an office telephone and is AC powered. The IDLogix System uses the Lavinna L100 handheld terminal with a touchscreen for verification of government documents. CardCom Technology also offers handheld units: the CAV-2000 and the CAV-3000. Another type of technology to detect fake IDs uses ultraviolet (UV) light which can fluoresce invisible security markings. False ID training is important for traffic officers, driver’s license examiners, and front-line employees at Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) believes State and Federal governments can assist States by supporting minimum standards when issuing a license; helping DMVs identify fraudulent documents; supporting an interstate network; imposing stiffer penalties; and providing Federal funding. Future technology could include smart cards, fingerprints, and facial recognition as security measures.