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Many application processes have become easier and faster due to digital transformation. This is beneficial to applicants and underwriters, but it is also helpful to criminals attempting to scam banks and customers. Illegal activities have increasingly used counterfeit documents or document misconduct, costing the world economy billions annually. Borrowing loans beyond their eligibility, purchasing or selling assets, acquiring loans, dodging arrest, or living in a country illegally are just a few reasons people create counterfeit documents, which make the verification of documents a must.
As digital applications build up and create interminable backlogs, identifying fake documents can be daunting. This not only slows productivity but also makes authenticating counterfeit documents more challenging. According to a report, the number of document forgeries increased by 24% last year, compared to 18% in 2021.
What is Document Forgery?
The practice of generating, modifying, or imitating papers is known as document forgeries. Document forgery is a criminal offence that involves fabricating a document to give a sense of legal validity to a fictitious fact. Furthermore, the falsifier must strive to give information the impression of being genuine to defraud someone.
Document forgery saw an unprecedented rise last year, according to a report, passports topped the list, followed by ID cards, at over 40% and 26%, respectively. On the dark web, the forged Maltese passport is being sold for $4000 whilst the New York driver’s licence is for $60 only, highlighting the importance of document verification.
Types of Document Forgery
Forgery can be classified into three types: freehand simulation, tracing, and digital manipulation. Here’s a rundown of each:
When an impostor attempts to imitate a person’s signature, writing, or design by duplicating authentic documents.
Written text, signatures, and designs are reproduced using luminescence or carbon tracing, in which the criminal places an empty page over the original document and traces words and design components.
Using picture editing software duplicates signatures or information and puts it into a forged document.
The Difference Between Fake and Forged Document
A fake document is an identification document that was not produced or recognised by the government. Depending on the application, fake documents might take several shapes. A fraudster, for instance, may fraudulently make a totally false driver’s licence or social security card to utilise during the loan or job application procedure.
When seals, figures, or additional indicators are lacking from pseudo documents (totally faked documents with created names and details), they can be easily identified. It’s not always so simple, mainly if the scam artist is skilled.
Forged documents, on the contrary, are genuine but have been altered. For example, someone may edit a photograph or change the name or birthday printed on an identification card. They may make a whole document appear to have been issued by a different government body. If a document specifies a person exists, it is likely that scammers will use it to generate forged identity documents.
How to Identify Fake Documents
The initial step in determining the legitimacy of a document is to understand why it is being provided. If it is being utilised as proof of address, identity verification, or proof of affordability, it must be validated and confirmed before being accepted. Bank statements, IDs, and paychecks are commonly fabricated documents used for identity fraud or faking affordability. There are numerous obvious flaws in falsified documents prepared by professionals.
Skilled fraudsters frequently change values on bank statements without double-checking that they add up. This is a major red signal when determining the authenticity of a document. Therefore, always personally verify the numbers in the final document to determine whether they match. A modifier, for example, may also leave out spaces/lines/numbers when these components should be on particular IDs.
Data Entry Errors
Misspellings, incorrect punctuation, grammatical errors, and information that does not match the rest of the document are all red flags. Inexperienced fraudsters generally make these changes and are easy to notice.
Beginner fraudsters are frequently caught when they change the font sizes or layout of specific elements on a document. Fonts that are often found on authorised IDs or bank statements from a certain institution may be difficult to find in Microsoft Word.
Another easy red flag to look for is variations between the issuing institution’s unique logo and the document in issue.
How do People Fake Documents?
When discussing the most frequently forged IDs and passports, nations with the highest degree of welfare, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, or Germany, spring to mind immediately. They are usually locations for illegal immigration.
Countries with lower safety standards in visas and other papers typically have greater instances of ID fraud. The cost of obtaining legal identification documents mirrors this indirectly.
The cost of the final copy is affected by the level of technical competence, including the usage of security components, as well as the nature of the design. The more expensive the document, the more contractors engaged in its creation, such as designers, specific paper providers, and printing services.
This also influences which identity documents fraudsters like to use as a reference when forging. A Maltese passport, for example, costs $4000; a Bulgarian passport, on the other hand, costs only $20. This reflects their low level of security in comparison to costly identity documents. Nonetheless, both are currently at the forefront of the most commonly falsified identification documents.
High demand for a specific sort of document is also essential. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are two countries with a high demand for construction employees. This may attract many immigrants from third-world countries such as India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Workers with these visas can typically stay for up to 6 months on short-term work visas. As a result, fraudulent visas and travel documents for these areas are on the rise.
Standard passports remain at the forefront of the documents most frequently fabricated by fraudsters. Unfortunately, many nations are overwhelmed with illegal migrants, such as the United Kingdom and France, who employ this sort of identity document. However, this does not imply that other documents are fully safe against identity theft.
Why is it Important to Identify Fake Documents?
The significance of detecting counterfeit documents cannot be underlined. There are many reasons why businesses must detect fraudulent documents, including:
Financial Loss Prevention
Financial losses are one of the most serious consequences of false documents. Criminals can use forged documents to accomplish a variety of crimes, including identity theft, forged transactions, and insurance fraud. Detecting fake financial documents such as counterfeit cheques, agreements, and invoices aids in protecting a company’s funds and preventing substantial financial losses.
Data Security and Protection
Criminals can acquire unauthorised access to secure locations, systems, or private data by using counterfeit ID documents, entry cards, and other passwords. To ensure a safe atmosphere and protect sensitive information, organisations must be careful in spotting fake documents.
Maintains Customer Trust
If a company falls victim to a falsified document scam, it can harm its brand and lose client trust. Customers prefer to trade with organisations they can rely on. Businesses may protect their image and demonstrate to their consumers that they consider safety seriously by identifying fake documents.
Avoid Legal Consequences
Another purpose of detecting fake documents is to prevent legal consequences. For example, if a company accepts a falsified contract accidentally, it may be held accountable for a breach of agreement. Accepting false identification documents, on the other hand, can result in legal complications linked to identity theft. Companies can prevent costly legal disputes by establishing detection and prevention methods for fake documents.
Is Your Sector Among the Most Targeted by Identity Fraud with Fake Documents?
Primary hotspots include country borders, land checkpoints, and airport customs. Scammers attempt to gain access to financial holdings of all kinds in finance-related areas such as banking, fintech, and insurance. Despite the fact that identification verification is required, the level of privacy at work is not equal to that at border crossings.
Border control agents are frequently trained to spot subtle evidence of fraud in identity documents. It takes weeks to cover all safety aspects and methods for testing them. Furthermore, when screening travellers when entering or leaving a particular nation, these experts deal with a greater range of document types on a daily basis.
Managers at banks or telecommunications centres do not have this kind of valuable expertise. They usually deal with national identity documents. As a result, an Australian passport could cause considerable complications at a regional bank in Geneva.
Several industries, including healthcare and education, may mistakenly believe that the fraudulent identity problem doesn’t matter to them. They are not subject to KYC compliance standards, thus, they are not as conscious of identity theft or fake document problems. Since they are less protected and aware, scammers frequently target these industries.
Protection Against the Fake Document
With technological advances increasing, examining fake documents has become more difficult than ever. They can now use digital software to change and even make new documents to the point where they are undetected manually. It requires modern fraud identification technology to recognise all changes to an electronic document!
Why Choose Shufti Pro?
Shufti Pro employs cutting-edge AI-powered document verification services that examine and detect counterfeit or false documents in seconds. Our sophisticated OCR technology extracts and scans the data for originality, eliminating the need for manual checks whilst remaining compliant. Avoid being a victim of falsified or faked documents, and save money in fines, sanctions, and penalties.
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