The horrifying thing about identity theft is the manner in which one's privacy is so thoroughly invaded. When a criminal is able to obtain your private information, he or she can practically commit any type of fraud and you, the real owner of that identity would take the fall for it. Among other types of fraud, faking an ID card by putting an assumed identity on it is usually a technique in social engineering. This term refers to a method of accessing a protected area or organization through the weakest part of its security system - the human link. Computer systems can be fooled but it would require a high degree of technical proficiency. Humans on the other hand, given the right amount of leverage, can be much easier to fool. Every time someone flashes an ID at us, how often do we take the time to actually confirm if it's valid or not?
- Only accept identification cards that are considered valid under the law. Under the United States law, identification cards such as driver's licenses, passports and military IDs which have been issued by a government agency are the ones that are considered legal. These identification cards should include the ID bearer's complete name, date of birth, latest photograph, and physical description. These IDs should have the date of issue including the expiration date.
- Know which forms of identification are considered invalid. Under no circumstances should social security cards, birth certificates, check cashing cards, school IDs and temporary driver's licenses be accepted as they are considered invalid identification cards. Combining a couple or more of these invalid identification cards should not be accepted as a replacement for one valid ID either.
- Know how to identify a fake identification card. Altered or tampered identification cards have some very common identifiable marks. Knowing how to identify these marks is the key to avoiding fraud, or being held liable for selling liquor to a minor. Make sure that you check the ID's overall appearance. Are there lumps or cuts that are out of place? Next is to check the signature on the ID. Government issued cards scan an individual's signature on a computer. This scanned signature is then what is placed on the ID. If you see that the signature is clearly written on ink, then it is a fake ID. IDs with chipped lamination, especially on the edges, are most likely counterfeit as well. Government issued ID cards are made from layers of specialized material and these are subjected to heat to make sure that they don't simply disintegrate.
- Double check by asking details written on the identification card. Ask the bearer offhandedly about information written on the ID. Some counterfeiters get busted for presenting tampered IDs just by this oversight.
In these modern times where information is as valuable as oil or gold, we can't simply rely on electronic security measures. We have to be security conscious ourselves and practice caution all the time.