U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been seizing an increasing number of fake IDs, including driver’s licenses, in recent years. Most come from China and are good enough to fool an average person, an agency official said.
In 2019, CBP seized more than 78,000 fake documents, an increase from almost 57,000 a year earlier, and some 26,000 in 2015. This year, the agency is on pace to intercept even more, with nearly 55,000 documents seized as of Aug. 10, according to data provided by CBP to The Epoch Times.
“The vast majority of fake IDs we seize are coming from China,” said CBP Memphis Port Director Michael Neipert in an emailed response. “Our CBP officers are highly effective in detecting fraudulent documents, so for us, these are obvious fakes. I do consider these to be high-quality fake IDs because they can definitely fool the average person.”
The majority “are of an age range that indicate that they are using these IDs to drink underage,” he said.
“Of greater concern are the fake IDs that do not fall into this category. We do seize some fake IDs that are clearly not intended for underage drinking. Obviously, fake IDs could be used for a wide range of nefarious activities. This is why we make it a priority to intercept these licenses and work with our investigative partners to ensure these offenses are prosecuted.”
At Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, CBP seized nearly 20,000 fake driver’s licenses through June 30.
“Take a look at these IDs—same person, different bio info,” CBP Chicago wrote on Twitter.
The IDs arrived from China, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and South Korea and were, in the majority of cases, headed for neighboring states, mainly for “college-age students,” the CBP stated.
One concern is that the bar code attached to the Michigan licenses actually worked.
The fraudulent identity documents can lead to identity theft and other issues, including fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, the agency stated.
Fake IDs can also be used by individuals associated with terrorism “to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”
In November 2019, the CBP said it intercepted more than 5,000 fake IDs, or the blank cards used to make them, in Louisville, Kentucky, sent from China. They were headed to various states nationwide, including New York.
One of the IDs was headed to a convicted child rapist located in New York. According to authorities, the individual “entices minors with alcohol and counterfeit IDs before engaging in illicit activity.”
Timothy Lemaux, CBP port director for Dallas-Fort Worth, warned people against seeking to obtain fraudulent identity documents overseas, as counterfeiters will access their personal information.
“What is most disconcerting about these interceptions, besides the volume in which we are experiencing, is the ease in which so many young people freely share their personal information with counterfeiters abroad,” Lemaux said in a statement, Fox News reported.
“We’ll continue to collaborate with local law enforcement to educate the public, and anyone who is contemplating purchasing a counterfeit ID online, on the potential dangers of sharing your personal, identifiable information with a criminal element.”