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July 06, 2009

Identity theft news - Fake IDs are easy to get

Here is a pretty good article from Robert Siciliano.

"Do a search online for 'fake ids' or numerous other search terms related to counterfeit identification and you will be amazed at how easy it is to get an ID that will allow someone to pose as you. Some of the sites card quality is poor, others are great, and many sites are scams.

There are also 'ratings' sites that rate the quality of cards issued by numerous sites. Each ratings site is most likely owned by the same company that owns the highest rated site. In a business of fakes, this is an obvious ruse.

The problem stems from the fact that our existing systems of identification are easily copied and do not have enough security in place. Anyone with a PC , scanner and printer can re-create an ID.

What further exasperates the problem is out dated systems allowing the ease of getting real IDs at registries of motor vehicles with legitimate or falsified information. This may include a copy of a birth certificate and Social Security card. Another odd and obvious breach in the system is when a person completely alters their appearance. Men with facial hair can wreak havoc on the system. This is generally done as a prank ... or the person still wants to participate in society but maintain a bit of anonymity.

New technologies, including facial recognition, are being introduced every day that are beginning to solve these problems, but are still years away from being fully implemented.

Recently in Indianapolis, Indiana a man obtained six different IDs, and eventually facial recognition software was used to investigate the fraud and he was caught while applying for a seventh. First he got an ID in his own name, then went to different registries throughout the state and applied for others names using others information. He obtained job applicant data from a body shop business he owned, that failed. Then he used the identities to open checking accounts at multiple banks and write checks to himself under different names.

The fact that he was able to get away with 6 different IDs before being caught is disturbing. The technology to prevent fake IDs didn’t work in this case. He stole 6 persons IDs. It was a bank employee who noticed he had 2 bank accounts under 2 different names and dropped a dime to the authorities. He would have got away with it if he wasn’t so greedy.

In Indianapolis and other registries the daily photos are compared to millions of others already on file. The system constantly scans the data and presents cases that might match, requiring further investigation by registry employees.

Some of the requirements of improving facial recognition include not smiling for your picture or smile as long as you keep your lips together. Other requirements meant to aid the facial recognition software include keeping your head upright (not tilted), not wearing eyeglasses in the photo, not wearing head coverings, and keeping your hair from obscuring your forehead, eyebrows, eyes, or ears.

The fact is, identity theft is a big problem due to a systematic lack of effective identification and is going to continue to be a problem until further notice. In the meantime it is up to you to protect yourself."

The rest of the article can be found here -

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