The different types of document fraud

Do you know the different types of document fraud?

In most national legislations, the forgery and manipulation of official identification documents such as identity cards, passports or driver's licenses are considered to be the most serious forgery crime. Forgery of identity documents enables a wide range of illegal activities such as money laundering or terrorism. For criminals, it is an important gateway to defraud, harm and terrorize the public. The counterfeit documents are most often produced by China-based counterfeiting rings that use standard software in combination with industrial quality card printers.

Depending on the authenticity of the document, document fraud can show up in different forms. Interpol identifies the following types of fraud as the most common ones, distinguishing between fake and genuine ID frauds:

Fake ID frauds:

  1. Counterfeit documents: unauthorized reproduction of genuine documents
  2. Forged documents: alteration of a genuine document adding false information or modifying information while passing it as a genuine document. Forged documents often include substitution of photo, pages, altered data as well as attacks on the visas or entry/exit stamps.
  3. Pseudo documents: copies codes from official documents such as passports or national ID cards although not being officially recognized by any international organizations or countries.

Genuine ID frauds:

  1. Genuine documents fraudulently obtained by theft, robbery or corruption, sometimes referred to as FOG (Fraudulently Obtained Genuine).
  2. Official documents that are misused by a fraudster.

How to prevent document fraud and distinguish real from fake documents?

Trying to distinguish counterfeit documents from genuine ones just relying on human sight is a risky undertaking. Therefore, the Document Security Alliance (DSA) recommends the following procedures to reduce the threats to public safety by stolen identities:

  • Train employees in sensitive areas of commerce, federal building security, and local law enforcement. This will include learning basic identity verification techniques and the usage of available tools.
  • Ensure greater security for state and federal identification cards and driver's licenses by using technology that cannot be easily copied.
  • Using specialized and secure card production materials that are limited in access and difficult to obtain.
  • Using scanning technology consisting of hardware and software solutions on a forensic level for inspections in critical checkpoints.


DESKO offers a wide range of high-quality hardware and software solutions for the verification and authentication of identity documents.


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The different types of document fraud