Tags: Fake | IDs | Threaten | Homeland | Security

Fake IDs Threaten Homeland Security

Friday, 12 August 2005 12:00 AM

The investigation revealed that this criminal organization has allegedly been involved in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit identity documents in numerous cities throughout the United States. For more information on this criminal indictment and ICE investigation, log on to www.ice.gov.

Sadly, this is just one example of the current ubiquitous nature of phony identification that floods our country, and weakens our national security, each and every day.

Worldwide, including most large cities in the United States, sham IDs such as bogus birth certificates and passports are commonly sold and easily purchased. In addition, with the advent of advanced technology such as scanners, digital photography and powerful computers available at low cost, the ability to "home manufacture" counterfeit identification documents has become virtually ubiquitous.

Even if one is not proficient in using a computer to produce fake identification, they can easily obtain sham ID with a few clicks on the World Wide Web. Still almost four years post-September 11, 2001, you can find dozens, if not hundreds, of Web sites worldwide claiming to sell so-called "novelty replicas" of various official credentials including drivers' licenses, immigration documents, Social Security cards, birth certificates, college degrees, and even military and law enforcement identification.

In fact, according to a U.S. Department of Justice December 20, 2002 press release, federal prosecutors charged eight men for their alleged involvement in an international conspiracy to sell and obtain phony identification documents sold on the Internet. Five convicted felons, including a child molester, allegedly sought bogus but authentic-looking documents with assumed names from the Web sites.

For more information, go to www.justice.gov.

In addition, there have been numerous media reports stating that in almost any sizeable metropolitan area, you can easily obtain, for a couple hundred bucks or so, high-quality counterfeit identification on the street. In many cases, these bogus documents sold on the street may be used to obtain genuine government ID, especially driver's licenses.

If this was not outrageous enough, other news reports have claimed that in certain states, a few corrupt motor vehicle office employees have accepted bribes to issue legitimate driver's licenses and state identification cards to those who would not otherwise be eligible to obtain such documents.

Who purchases fake ID?

The market is vast and ever on the increase. Everyone from underage drinkers and illegal immigrants to felons and identity thieves drive the demand for phony identification. Today, we can add one more potential user of bogus identification: the terrorist.

Sophisticated identification authentication equipment needs to be installed at all our ports of entry, as well as mandating the appropriate training for our border agents. The recently established Department of Homeland Security's "US-VISIT" program is a worthy beginning to help accomplish this essential goal.

Local law enforcement officers, who are the most likely of all officials to have contact with those using phony identification once they enter our country, should also receive advanced instruction on how to detect bogus documents. This essential training for our local, county and state law enforcement is unconditional "must do" to help augment the security of our nation.

In addition, enhanced security safeguards should be integrated into all official government documents, especially state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards. Like it or not, the driver's license has become a de facto national identification card, so immense efforts should be employed to ensure the sanctity of these fundamental government-issued documents.

However, no matter how secure driver's licenses become, and no matter how many holograms, barcodes, computer chips and encryptions they have, if the underlying documents used to obtain driver's licenses are fraudulent, it will never be a trustworthy identification document.

Simply put, regardless of how many high-tech safeguards are incorporated into any type of official identification, the IDs are only as good as the genuineness of the primary documents, such as birth certificates, used to acquire them. This is just one area that the newly passed "REAL ID" act will hopefully help improve in the near future.

We do not have of luxury of time to point fingers or place blame in reference to the problem of phony identification. It is imperative, however, that the government officials involved, on all levels, with issuing and checking identification be extra vigilant, and have the equipment, training and resources to properly authenticate all credentials presented.

As with almost all issues of national safety, there is little room for error. Just one person with malicious intent can cause unimaginable devastation using legitimate identification obtained by means of fraudulent documents.

Bogus IDs are a direct and genuine challenge to our homeland security that we must face head-on and confidently defeat.

(Note: If you manufacture or distribute any Security, Safety, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Defense or Crime Prevention related products, please send information on your product line for possible future reference in this column to: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.)

Copyright 2005 by Bruce Mandelblit

"Staying Safe" with Bruce Mandelblit is a regular column for the readers of NewsMax.com and NewsMax.com Magazine.

Bruce welcomes your thoughts. His e-mail address is: CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.

Bruce is a nationally known security journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve Law Enforcement Officer.

Bruce writes Staying Safe, a weekly syndicated column covering the topics of security, safety and crime prevention.

Bruce was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel – the state's highest honor – for his public service.

This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.

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The investigation revealed that this criminal organization has allegedly been involved in manufacturing and distributing counterfeit identity documents in numerous cities throughout the United States.For more information on this criminal indictment and ICE investigation,...
Fake,IDs,Threaten,Homeland,Security
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2005-00-12
Friday, 12 August 2005 12:00 AM
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