The Dangers Of Forgery

Counterfeit ID cards are becoming an increasingly serious problem for government agencies and private companies alike. In many cases, these counterfeit cards can result in millions of dollars of lost revenues. Because of that, understanding and establishing policies to effectively deal with the danger of counterfeit cards should be a goal for all businesses.

Counterfeit ID Cards and Businesses

Counterfeit ID cards are becoming increasingly common in an era of cheap printers and powerful editing and photo manipulation software. In many cases, such as Social Security Cards, the format of the card remains vulnerable to being counterfeited. In fact, many counterfeit IDs may be difficult or impossible to detect without close examination.
This can be especially serious when the counterfeit ID is used to gain access to company information or property. An undetected counterfeit card might lead to a business issuing a credit card and losing thousands of dollars to the subsequent fraud. In other cases, retail clerks who fail to detect a counterfeit ID card may accidentally sell alcohol or other materials to underage individuals, potentially exposing the business to civil and criminal liability.

Counterfeit ID and Identity Theft

Perhaps the most insidious example of counterfeit ID is when it uses the identity of an unknowing victim. Unless the business is very careful in how it proceeds, the consequences of this type of identity theft can badly harm the company’s reputation, as well as putting innocent individuals through a great deal of trouble. In some cases, it may expose the business to civil liability.

Developing Anti-Counterfeiting Policies

While no business can completely immunize itself from the dangers of counterfeit ID, there are a variety of policies that can be implemented in order to reduce the chance of a successful deception. Any major transaction should require multiple IDs in order to qualify. This reduces the chance of an individual making use of a single counterfeit ID. Only photo IDs should be accepted and the employee should always compare the image to the individual holding the ID.
Additionally, official IDs, such as state ID or driver’s licenses should be used and the vital information, such as the ID number and address should be recorded. If possible, this information should be submitted to a state or private database in order to ensure that the information is accurate. Even if the employees do not detect the counterfeit ID, taking these measures will demonstrate that the business was diligent in attempting to detect any possible forgery.

Creating Secure Business IDs

Finally, company IDs should be designed in such a way as to reduce the potential for counterfeiting. Card printing should be done on-site via ID card printers, in order to limit the ability of unauthorized individuals to gain access to the printers. In addition, by using RFID and magnetic stripe technology, the ability to effectively counterfeit the card can be largely eliminated by encrypting the data within the card. By using such measures, even a physical copy of the card is rendered useless to the holder.
While the counterfeit ID card remains a serious challenge, by implementing effective policies a business can help protect its employees and customers alike. In today’s economy, such policies can be a vital key to the long-term financial success of the business.
Image by James Cridland and licensed through Creative Commons.

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Joseph Scribner works for, a retailer specializing in plastic card printers and systems.