Fraudulent driver’s licenses, which can be used for criminal activity or fraud, continue to be found by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at Express Consignment Operations hub across the nation.
Last week Indianapolis CBP detained three shipments that were arriving from Hong Kong. The contents were described as “Game Card” with a value of $20.00. Officers inspected the shipments and found nearly 1,200 counterfeit state driver’s licenses. One shipment contained 358 counterfeit driver’s licenses, while the second and third shipments contained 482 and 367 counterfeit licenses respectively. The first shipment was heading to an address in Chicago and the other two shipments were heading to addresses in New York.
The counterfeit licenses seized were for more than 20 states including California, Ohio, South Carolina, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Most were for college-age students, and some licenses would share the same picture but have a different name.
While CBP sees these dark web transactions frequently, according to LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago, the reasoning for buying fake IDs has evolved from teenagers trying to get into bars to more nefarious activity. “Some of the major concerns as it relates to fraudulent identity documents is identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, and these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”
“Counterfeit drivers licenses have historically been used by those under 21 years of age for the illegal consumption of alcohol, but fake IDs have also been used in criminal enterprises, such as identity theft cases and immigration fraud,” said Chief CBP Officer Tim Hubbard. “Customs and Border Protection officers will continue to be vigilance during enforcement operations, and we remain committed to the safety and security of our nation.”
CBP Officers coordinate findings with CBP’s Fraudulent Document Analysis Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and other federal partners to combat this illicit activity.
CBP routinely conducts inspection operations on arriving and departing international flights and intercepts narcotics, weapons, currency, prohibited agriculture products, counterfeit goods, and other illicit items at our nation’s 328 international ports of entry.