The forged passport

#2 Alteration

Alteration is where fraudsters try to change the data in a genuine document.

Typically this includes:

  • Photo alteration or substitution
  • Alteration of the biographical data, in the visual or machine readable zone (MRZ)
  • Deletion of entries on visa/observations pages
  • Mechanical and chemical erasure of biographical information
  • Delaminating attacks
  • Passport Alteration of the personalization data on the data page. For example, additional marking on top of the existing personalization data, or the application of a thin foil overlay to alter it.

So how do we deal with this?

  • Personal data should be inserted inside the document structure, not just on the surface. This will make it difficult for fraudsters to reach, alter or recreate it.
  • Personal data should be interlocked with security features. The forged passport will, therefore, show clear and visible traces of alteration.
  • Duplication of the personal data, using various techniques, also makes the work of the fraudster much harder.

​​​Design passport

#3 Recycling

In this case, we’re afraid; recycling isn’t a good thing.

It involves the creation of fraudulent documents, using material from legal documents, and the removal and substitution of entire pages or visas.

How will the fraudsters do this fake passport?

  • Removing security features from a genuine document for reuse in a falsified one
  • Using “recycled” authentic passport security features in a new falsification
  • Interchanging pages between one passport and another

To prevent this kind of attack passport forge, all elements have to be closely interlocked and integrated.  A holistic passport security design is therefore critical.

As an example in the picture below, the hinge linking the booklet to the data page makes it extremely hard to remove without damaging the two parts. In addition, it integrates UV sensitive ink lines that would be demanding to align if another data page is inserted.

Passport secure hinge

#4 Stealing

This is the theft of an original, genuine blank document. It could take place at any stage of the passport life cycle, from manufacture right through to the point of personalization – during transit or in storage. Fraudulent passports, in that case, can be very hard to detect because they are genuine documents.

It’s obvious but needs stressing…

…the integrity of manufacturing, transportation, storage and accounting of blank documents is critical to the entire security chain.

Using a combination of advanced technologies for personalization forces fraudsters to try and master them all.

To ensure reliable tracking, we recommend numbering all travel documents at the end of the manufacturing process.

Reporting is also key. Interpol shares data on 250,000 stolen or lost Syrian and Iraqi passports, including blank documents.

#5 Misuse of a genuine document belonging to a similar-looking person

Examples of this include:

  • An unauthorized person using a valid genuine passport
  • Use of registered lost or stolen documents by look-alikes of the real holder
  • Cloning logical data from a similar looking person

It might appear difficult to address these threats at the document level.

However, the danger of a stolen passport can be minimized by using high-quality personalization technology to add personalized elements including the repeated occurrence of the holder’s portrait in several places in the document.

And don’t forget the core benefit of an ePassport.

These allows the identity of the holder to be compared with his/her biometric data (such as fingerprints and facial image), as stored in the microcontroller, and the convenient use of databases such as Interpol ‘s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database.

Passport control

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