Forgery on the Road – Investigating Fake Driver’s Licenses

Fake IDs are widely used by underage drinkers, gang members and career criminals for various purposes; fortunately, investigators often catch these perpetrators red handed and arrest them quickly.

Fake identification cards may provide some telltale signs. Slanted text and typos on their front may give away their identity; additionally, fake cards will feel thinner than authentic state issued IDs.

Made Documents

Fraudsters may create their own documents from scratch in order to resemble real ones, known as made documents, while other criminals alter existing documents by inserting fake data and falsifying content – these forgeries are known as blank documents or forgeries, though some could also be created from authentic ones that have been altered slightly.

Criminals frequently alter genuine documents by altering seals, numbers and other identifying details on checks and credit card applications. Fraudsters will sometimes even alter photos to create more convincing forgeries; Frank Abagnale was an expert at document manipulation before eventually being caught and arrested for eight identities he assumed.

Forgeries can be created either using actual handwriting samples or by tracing over an authentic signature. Tracing forgeries are sometimes more difficult to detect due to their focus on accuracy rather than fluency, making it hard to spot.

Some forgeries are created using transmitted light tracing. In this process, paper intended to receive the forgery is placed over a piece with an authentic signature and placed beneath a source of transmitted light, which then projects an image of said signature onto it. Forensic document examiners often employ this technique when evaluating documents to establish authenticity or the authenticity of signatures in question.

Borrowed Documents

Fake IDs may be associated with underage drinking and minors seeking entry to age-restricted clubs and events, but they can also be used for many forms of fraud and crime. Identity thieves could use stolen personal data to get credit cards, take over bank accounts and file fraudulent tax returns; so it is imperative that producing and possessing fake IDs be more costly for identity thieves – legislation has recently been put forth to increase fines and prison terms associated with producing and possessing these fraudulent documents.

First step to identify counterfeit documentation is comparing it with an authentic copy. Documents may be examined in the field, at a police department or using blacklight, with examiners then being able to ascertain whether any modifications have occurred and look for clues within the document such as date of signature (i.e. whether written now or in past tense), altered text and any changes in its original form that indicate whether or not a document may be faked.

Under New York law, forgery of official documents like Fake driver license is considered a criminal act and penalties can range from misdemeanor to felony depending on its nature and sophistication.

Duplicate Documents

Many fraudsters who can’t obtain an original document will create their own counterfeit versions using either manual or digital techniques. Any attempt at forgery of an authentic document or signature is illegal, and those caught doing it could face prison or hefty fines – making it essential that law enforcement and employers who require valid driver’s licenses such as bartenders or store clerks take precautionary steps against fraud. They should ensure any documents acquired are preserved as part of a chain-of-custody to prevent falsification of records.

Forging, counterfeiting or altering driver’s licenses is usually considered a misdemeanor offense; however, such actions can also be used to commit more serious offenses, such as violating immigration laws, illegally entering another country and receiving citizenship or benefits which one isn’t entitled to. As legislation has increased penalties for such offenses and should deter people from creating and using false documents, legislation has also been proposed which increases penalties to discourage creating and using counterfeit documents.

Identity theft typically involves falsifying state-issued photo IDs that bear someone’s photograph in order to obtain credit cards, bank loans and other financial benefits they aren’t entitled to. Police forces as well as banks should recognize these fraudulent documents quickly using detection tools in order to detect them effectively.

Authentic Documents

Fraudsters often steal or purchase authentic documents belonging to others and falsify them to support their fraudulent activity – for instance when applying for loans they will present falsified paystubs as proof of income.

Fraudsters often spend significant time and effort creating these forgeries, making it hard to detect. These forgeries include freehand simulations that attempt to duplicate actual signatures and handwriting; tracings (usually transmitted light or carbon), where a fraudster places the original document with another blank sheet over it before tracing text and designs with pencil or crayon; or digital manipulation using photo editing software.


Simulated Forgery or Freehand Simulation is one of the most frequent forms of signature forgery encountered by document examiners. When executed properly with proper training and examples, its signature may resemble that found on genuine documents closely enough that untrained eyes cannot detect it. A skilled forger may spend considerable time practicing to achieve such fluency; however, they will make mistakes due to inexperience.

A professional document examiner will analyze any suspect signature to identify signs it might not be genuine; these indicators could include tremor, hesitation and older or infirmed writing characteristics. They’ll then compare it against documents known as genuine.

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