Director of Research Max Bluestein published an April 14, 2015 op ed in USA Today about the risks of fake IDs to our national security. The column, titled "Fake IDs a bigger issue than underage drinking", highlighted the risks of high quality counterfeit U.S. driver's licenses flooding in from China. Click here to see the story.
Every day, hundreds of thousands of counterfeit driver's licenses are presented for identification to businesses across the United States. Many times, these fake IDs are used to deceive banks and retails stores for financial fraud and scams, while other imposters use them to board airplanes and access secure areas. The huge scale of counterfeit ID sales presents a direct threat to public safety and our nation’s homeland security.
A new report published by Keeping IDentities Safe (KIDS) points to five ways to combat the widespread fraud. The report, “Counterfeit IDs: A National Security, Public Safety Threat”, acknowledges that most of these documents are used by minors to purchase alcohol and enter nightclubs, but others are used by career criminals, leading to millions of dollars in financial losses incurred through imposter fraud. While these crimes are more frequent, no one should ignore the significant danger of terrorists using counterfeit IDs to buy explosives or guns to hide their trail.
Each year, the courts address many instances of identity thieves who use counterfeit documents to hide their past criminal histories, such as drunk drivers and sex predators, and the terrorists who seek false driver’s licenses to carry out their attacks - one of the Boston Marathon bombers had a reading list full of how-to guides on ID counterfeiting.
“The al-Qaeda training manual explicitly instructs operatives to obtain fake IDs - a key part of the process of their attacks,” said Max Bluestein, Director of Research for KIDS. “This directive was followed by the 9/11 terrorists and these documents continue to be play a crucial operational role in many of the 60 major terrorist plots uncovered since.”
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