The scale of travel identity fraud in 2015 increased over previous years. Criminal networks are now so sophisticated that security experts can’t rely on traditional visual methods of detection, such as magnifying glasses and ultraviolet light sources.
As more people travel to more destinations than at any time in history – passing through aviation security checkpoints and crossing international borders in the process – the challenge of verifying traveller identities has never been greater.
Organized crime, terrorist organizations and other criminals often use fraudulent travel and identity documents, passports and visas for a wide range of illegal purposes. The ability to recognize the authenticity of a travel or identity document can help police and other law enforcement personnel recognize potential threats and disrupt criminal activities.
Offenders such as fugitives, criminals and terrorists usually commit passport fraud to conceal their identity with the aim of illegally entering a country to facilitate other criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or alien smuggling. They often do this by assuming the identity of a deceased person to apply for the passport and use false support documents, such as afake birth certificate or other identification, to obtain an otherwise authentic passport.
Homeland Security Today spoke to senior officers at Interpol, who wished not to be identified. They emphasized: “Our number one concern is counterfeit passports. I wouldn’t limit it just to terrorists, but also to the drug trade and human trafficking – in any crime area there is a counterfeit travel document involved.”