Identity Documents – How To Spot Fakes

Would you be able to spot a fake passport or driving licence if you saw one? It’s not something that we are asked to do every day. But if you are involved in checking documents in connection with DBS checks, you’re going to see a lot of identity documents. And however honest your applicants might appear to be, some might not be all they appear. It’s impossible to get an accurate DBS check on someone if you can’t even verify their name and date of birth. So how do you spot a forgery?

Checking Identity Documents

The good news is that you’re not expected to be an expert in forgeries. The law expects managers to do everything possible to pick up forgeries. Manager often spend a large part of the week looking at passports and comparing pictures to the person. They gain experience and start to get a feel for what’s “normal”. But forgers are clever, and are always one step ahead. There is lots of information on the government’s website about identifying forgeries. All identity documents have security features built-in. This is the case for both British and overseas documents. If you know what these features are, you can then check them and make sure the document appears genuine. These features include things like holograms, ink which can only be seen under UV light, watermarks and raised printing.

Often, the best way of spotting a forgery is to compare it to a document you are sure is genuine. Does the colour look the same? Is the font right? Are the watermarks in the right place? Design of passports can change over time. But if you’re not sure about a document, keep it for further investigation.

Getting Help with Forgeries

If you suspect that someone is trying to provide fake ID to get a job, what can you do about it? Forged documents are a police matter, and possibly an immigration matter too. Try to keep hold of the suspicious documents, and pass them to the police or Home Office. Once they take over, they will run further checks to see whether the documents are genuine. It may be possible to delay the recruitment decision until you hear back. Obviously, it would be unwise to employ someone who is in the UK illegally.

Storing Identity Information

Many employers take photocopies of passports and other documents for their records. It’s a good way of proving that you have checked right to work as far as possible. However, employers must store information safely and securely. That means locking copies away in a filing cabinet and making sure only a few people have access to the key. If you’re using online storage, then this sort of information should be password protected in a special file. Access should be limited to only people who need to see it. Most companies also have policies about restricting access to key members of staff. Make sure you purge old data when people leave the company. It’s also a good idea to be open with staff about what you’re keeping, and why.