A cottage industry has sprung up in recent years. Hidden in the back alleys of the “darknet” are the identity forgery professionals who churn-out counterfeit ID documents sold in the black markets of the hidden internet found on The Onion Router (TOR) networks.
Originally developed as a secure communication channel by the US Naval Research Laboratory, onion routers (called so because encrypted data is bounced randomly through multiple layers of a network of relays run by volunteers around the globe) have been co-opted by organized criminal groups around the globe as a means to transfer goods (personally identifiable data (PII), drugs, pornography, weapons) and money (usually Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency) to enable black market commerce to go undetected by law enforcement.
In a recent visit to several such marketplaces, we found shops selling identity “fullz” (a term used among criminals that means a complete set of personal data – often including passwords, credit card numbers, answers to secret questions, social security numbers, credit scores and more) in batches as small as 12 at a time for as little as $6 each. In these same markets, we would receive “targeted” banner ads that adapted to the various searches and vendors we had visited. One particularly savvy forgery shop served promotional ads offering ID services to provide fake ID documents that matched any PII we might purchase.
While it is still possible to find college students with atrociously bad fake ID’s trying to get into nightclubs or casinos, even this corner of the industry has changed, as basic Google searches will turn up numerous websites brazenly advertising “novelty” fake driver licenses…….. novelty documents good enough to pass barcode and/or magnetic-strip scans, according to the sellers’ websites. We have ordered dozens of these ID’s and, although some of them look quite good to the naked eye, ultimately, the quality is only mediocre at best. Often, the images used to print the background graphics are low resolution and blurry. In many cases, close scrutiny of the facial image of the card holder will show obvious seams where the were glued or photoshoped on top of the background.
Businesses responsible for handling the sale of age–restricted products are required to verify identification prior to every transaction. Convenience stores, liquor stores, grocery stores, state–run bottle shops, smoke shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, casinos, and sports stadiums must comply with local, state and federal laws restricting the sale of alcohol and tobacco.
Non–compliance with the law for these industries can be costly – even leading to bankruptcy if liquor licenses are revoked or suspended. So it makes sense to look for cost effective ways to help reduce this exposure to fines, litigations, and potential loss of licenses. Ensuring that employees at every point–of–sale are able to verify the age of the individuals looking to purchase such products is the most logical step. Failure to validate identity may lead to underage sales of alcohol or tobacco and lead to expensive fines that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
FraudFighter™ offers a diverse line of products that are easy to use, require little to no training and can aid in the effective validation of ID documents. FraudFighter™ protection controls stop fraud immediately with easy to use, state–of–the–art solutions for under $100.