Sessions » SDW Fishbowl – Staying ahead of the fraud curve

SDW Fishbowl – Staying ahead of the fraud curve


Mountbatten Room
Wednesday 27 June



Charlie Miller, Immigration Officer, National Document Fraud Unit
Immigration Enforcement, Home Office, UK


Fraud Vignettes: A day in the life of a forensic document examiner 
Elizabeth Gil and Matthew Heyne, Forensic Document Examiners, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory, USA

A glimpse into the variety of fraud methods encountered at the Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory.

  • Passport alterations;
  • Passport counterfeiting;
  • Identity card counterfeiting. 

What is the Holy Grail of security features and where can I get it? 

Kerre Corbin, Counterfeit Analyst, De La Rue, UK

After attending this presentation, participants will have a better understanding of the three key components for effective counterfeit deterrence: Document design and integration, education, and law enforcement. Each aspect must work in harmony with the other to achieve better counterfeit deterrence. In a perfect world, these would all be 100% effective, and there would be no more counterfeiting! However, because this is not feasible, the counterfeiter finds the weak point and attacks. Maybe the vulnerability lies in the design of the document. Or does it lie in the three-month home detention sentence that a counterfeiter receives for producing hundreds of fraudulent documents?   

Knowing how to hinder and frustrate the different levels of counterfeiters (from beginner to professional), you can start building the layers needed for a well-designed document. Every security document, substrate, and security feature can be simulated enough to fool the right person. By investing in these three components, you will be progressing to a more secure document!

  • Counterfeit deterrence;
  • Security features;
  • Education. 

Authentication of IDs must be possible in all circumstances
Patrick Guthmann, Product Line Manager-Travel Documents, IDEMIA, France

When communication is possible with the chip of the ID document, data tampering and fake data is very unlikely. However, statistics show that when tampered documents are detected in the field, the chip never works, so the efficiency of electronic protection of data vanishes. Furthermore, controls can be made without the possibility of accessing the electronic data, even when the chip works (no reader available or no access to certificates necessary to access sensible data, for example). In these cases it becomes extremely important to be able authenticate the genuineness of personalized data, either by machine, or only with human senses. This presentation will discuss the existing solutions that address this concern.

  • Trends in document control;
  • When the chip cannot be read it is necessary to be able to check the genuineness of the documents both by machine and human senses;
  • Overview of existing means and technologies addressing this concern.


Copy documents 
Howard Pope, Security Document Examiner Consultant, Fortinus Global, UK

Copies of security documents are held by an increasingly wide range of organisations throughout society. How do you evaluate the authenticity of these documents?

Very little public reference material on security documents is available, other than PRADO or Edison TD; other than that you need to subscribe privately to an online document library. However, even these are limited and not always up to date.

Another examination approach is generic, looking at standard features common to most security documents; MRZ, bar codes, QR codes, algorithms etc.

Alternatively, a more detailed approach can be adopted, examining font alignment, font style, layout and document number progression – once this is expanded, an issue curve for passports can be created.

However, all of these approaches require a weight attributed to the anomalies encountered. It is rare that one detection point alone will provide sufficient evidence of falsity. An attribution weighting system should then be incorporated into the examination process.

Overall, a combination of approaches is required, combined with a regularly updated reference library and a widely tested attribution weighting system.

The future needs to include not only more publicly available reference systems, which are updated regularly, but also a buy-in from the security document industry so as to change the definition of traditional security features to include security features that can be detected directly from a copy.

•    Why are security documents copied and who holds them;
•    Reference material available;
•    The differing approaches to examining a copy document;
•    The attribution weighting system;
•    The future.

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