Illegal IDs

A look inside the document fraud business through the eyes of a counterfeiter

All these incidents are meant to illustrate the need for law enforcement to respond to the issue of selling and using counterfeit identification documents. E.B. provided invaluable insight into the document fraud industry, showing just how easy it is to manufacture and distribute these documents. These operations are found in major cities and small towns. Law enforcement officials need to better prepare themselves for the task at hand.

As a first step, local law enforcement needs to foster a better working relationship with its federal counterparts. Both groups need to rely on each other's knowledge and experience in dealing with these crimes. By combining resources, each agency augments the knowledge and experience of its veteran officers and agents with the technology and intelligence of the other.

Many local agencies express frustration with ICE when dealing with cases involving illegal aliens. They expect ICE to respond immediately when they call and advise them that they have an illegal alien under arrest. By building a better working relationship with ICE, an agency can understand the issues the organization faces, such as understaffing, time constraints, lack of confinement resources and the enforcement of certain immigration laws.

Lastly, law enforcement officers need to be trained in the detection and investigation of counterfeit identification documents. It is a topic to which many officers have not been introduced. They need to know what to look for and what to do once they suspect a document may be counterfeit.

No one expects law enforcement officers to be trained to the level of forensic document examiners, but they should have a basic understanding of the security features of federal and state identity documents. Officers should be armed with basic techniques for detecting fraudulent documents.

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