All fakes are not created equal

Category: Identity

While all types of document fraud are on the rise, ID document forgery is booming – in particular that of passports – the document that attests of the identity and nationality of the bearer whilst enabling cross-border circulation.
Fake passports represent roughly 54% of document fraud in France, followed by National ID cards, which are around 18.5%.

Why are there so many different words to describe a “fake”? What are their différences?

• A counterfeit document is a document that is entirely fabricated as a duplicate of an original document. While it is the most difficult to produce, this type of fraud is the easiest to detect.

• Forgery, on the other hand, refers to the alteration of the whole (or part of) a genuine document, with the intent to defraud. The data most often forged is the expiration date, or the personal data such as the person’s identity and/or photo. Forgery is much trickier to detect, one needs to take a very close look to see if a number has been scratched and changed or if a photo was glued or unglued.

 Fraudulent use is when an authentic document is used by someone else than the intended holder and owner. This type of fraud is particularly frequent during periods of high influx, for instance during holidays. This is why we highly recommended that ID document checkers take the time to review every piece of information on the person’s passport: anything that looks fishy should be followed through…especially when looking at a short man that has a height of 1,90m written on his passport!

• Stolen blank documents are authentic documents that were stolen before the personalization stage. A classic case of forgery: anyone with the right equipment can fill in any information they want on the genuine blank documents.
The fact that we have a centralized issuance system here in France enables us to keep these cases to a minimum.

• Fraudulent obtainment designates the act of obtaining genuine documents with a fake ID or using false information. This type of fraud is quite frequent as it is difficult to verify if the information is true. In this case, the document checker needs to perform a private investigation on the carrier.

• Last but not least, fantasy documents are fake documents that have been created from scratch, the difference with counterfeits being that the latter are copies of real documents.

Experts in ID Document authentication are able to identify all types of fake documents. They know how forgers operate, and have good knowledge of document security features and have access to sophisticated security control tools (specific lighting, etc…).

Pierre Garcia