Frank Floor Talk: Sophisticated fake IDs abound on the dark web, but casinos can use better tech to combat criminal activity

May 24, 2023 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports
May 24, 2023 8:00 AM
  • John G. Brokopp, CDC Gaming Reports

While making your rounds on the casino floor, has that young man sitting in the corner playing a slot machine ever caught your eye and got you thinking whether or not he was of the age of majority to gamble? Or how about that woman that you’ve never seen before making a significant transaction at the casino cage. Is she really who she purports to be?

Story continues below

A multitude of components within the business model of modern-day casino operations, both person-to-person and online via apps, are attractive targets for regulatory violations, fraud, and criminal activity. The repercussions can result in costly fines, revenue loss, and even theft, impacting the bottom line and casting disparaging opinions about the integrity and security of operations.

Much of this activity revolves around identity fraud and identity theft, beginning with a person being in possession of fraudulent government identification. In a majority of situations, it is a state issued driver’s license, ID card, or sometimes a passport.

The opportunity to engage in criminal activity in a casino can also be seized by imposters, who present valid and authentic identification which has been stolen.

The good news is that technological breakthroughs and advances developed to immediately discover ID fraud the instant a person walks through the doors are available, making it possible to keep the predators at bay.

Unfortunately, there exists an underworld of opportunists within our own borders, accessible on the dark web, and even in the form of offshore shops eager to do business with people who, for whatever reason, wish to obtain fraudulent IDs, driver’s licenses, and passports. These corrupt businesses also are in possession of similar high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment and processes, giving them the capability of producing counterfeit identification that is next to impossible to detect using conventional means.

The fraudulent driver’s licenses produced by criminals in the basements of their homes using commercial equipment and mainstream printing processes are relics from the past, never again to resurface.

Anyone who has the desire to purchase a counterfeit ID is able to access any number of websites that will be delighted to do business with them.

Similarly, ID card printers, very much like those used by official government offices, along with the ability to imbed security features to align with those of the state-issued ID the customer is seeking, can be located for purchase on websites and the dark web.

The underworld businesses even include testimonials from satisfied customers on their sites, bragging about how authentic looking the IDs are and how successful they were using them to gain access or make purchases illegally.

The majority of customers are underage and wish to obtain a fake ID to buy alcohol, cigarettes, and gain entrance to facilities that restrict entry to those 21 and older.

Authentic state-issued and government identification cards are in fact very high-quality documents that are constructed in layers to enable a wide variety of security features to be imbedded into them. The materials are costly and the process intricate and time consuming.

Every state and entity create its own ID template and security feature protocols, including UV (ultra-violet) features, micro printed words and fine lines, infrared designs, ghost photos, over-printing, intentional errors, postscripts, etc. The construction process also includes offset printing that uses spot colors on a printing plate rather than inkjet.

Anomalies that exist in a fraudulent ID are impossible to find with the naked eye, and very difficult if not impossible to find with traditional tools that have outlived their usefulness, including hand-held magnifying loupes and UV lights. Counterfeiters have mastered putting UV features into IDs, which makes the use of the UV light questionable. Just because an ID “lights up” doesn’t mean it is authentic.

The use of modern technology is not an option – it’s a priority. Suppliers that specialize in fraud detection have the equipment and software to scan, analyze, and evaluate IDs, ensuring that they are authentic.

Biometric technology has made it possible to weed out imposters who are using an authentic ID illegally. They may be presenting an ID that is completely authentic, but they are not the person to whom it was issued. Here’s where biometrics protects casino operators. Matching the face of the person standing in front of you to the photo on the ID presents pitfalls, simply because the person is going to make themselves look as much like the person in the photo as possible.

The casino industry has come a long way in the last 20 years protecting itself against fraud and criminal activity, a monumental task given the fact that cash is the driving force. Great strides have been made to bring casino operations up to the standards of financial institutions, which demands keeping up with the latest technology to avoid being victims of criminal activity.

The reality remains that it all begins with knowing who has walked through the doors of the property and if they should really be there.