We live in an age of technology, so it might surprise you to learn just how common fake IDs and counterfeit cash really are. You might think that there is a simple and easy way to spot these, but plenty of people still get fooled by fake money and fake IDs every single day. In this guide, we’re looking at the ins and outs of fake IDs and cash.

Fake ID: What Is It And How Do People Get Them

Fake IDs scattered on countertop
Fake IDs scattered on countertop

Fake IDs are simply fake forms of documentation to prove age, used to buy alcohol in some cases but often for credit card fraud. The days of back alley transactions to try and get a fake ID made for you are pretty much gone. Nowadays, the black market online and the dark web is the option most people go for when it comes to finding a fake ID that is reliable.

They send their image, and designers in Asia or elsewhere in the world will use special printers that are able to create a pretty realistic looking fake. Some can even do a decent job of replicating the magnetic strips or laser engravings on the ID card. When bought online, a lot of the different IDs out there get sent within the pages of a book.

Fake ID Identity Theft: How Can Your Personal Information Be Used For Fraud

Often, the person’s name and address on the fake ID can be real. ID details can be stolen via phishing scams and other email scams, fake websites and even just through social media accounts. If your online accounts are compromised then you might be a target for making fake IDs. Often, it comes down to carelessness, and issues such as not knowing when someone is trying to scam you. A fake website might seem totally legitimate but actually be stealing your details.

How Common is Identity Theft? How Can You Prevent it Happening?

Identity theft is not just there for scaremongers to try and strike fear into you. In 2019, over 14 million consumers were the victims of some sort of ID fraud, and it has been growing ever since. The global pandemic made it even worse where Identity theft became more and more common. Identity theft statistics are scary. This shows you just how rife it is in America and other parts of the world. It could be time to protect yourself.

Things like commonly changing passwords, only giving out details on websites you are certain you can trust, and only performing transactions on verified secure websites can help. Identity monitoring services can also play a part in trying to monitor when you might have been the victim of ID fraud.

How to Spot a Fake ID

Your best methods to spot fake identification are using your eyes. Does the ID look like other driving licenses you’ve seen in the state or is it something unusual that you haven’t spotted before?

Compare the photo from the ID with whoever is trying to use it. They should look the same, of course. Don’t take expired IDs, and make sure that you properly inspect the card. Some duplicate cards will have a DUPL stamp which might be another sign.

Many fake IDs have rounded edges and aren’t as rigid as the real thing. You should spend time getting used to the real ID for your state so that you will spot any fakes.

What is Counterfeit Money?

Sheets of counterfeit money on printing paper
Sheets of counterfeit money on printing paper

Counterfeit cash is relatively common as people can often use it without getting caught, or if they are caught they might plead ignorance.

Counterfeit money is any cash designed to imitate the look and feel of the currency used in a country, so they can use it in stores or even deposit it and not get caught. Depending on where you go in the world, there could be around 1% of the whole country’s cash supply that was originally counterfeit. This shows just how common it is.

It’s often tough to get the specific look and feel of counterfeit money, so here lies the weakness and your chance to spot the counterfeits.

Fake Money: How to Spot and Deal With Counterfeit Money

You don’t have to accept money if it is counterfeit. Luckily, the U.S. government has put some security features in place to ensure that you can spot the fakes. All bills that are worth $5 or more have color-shifting ink which can be spotted in the lower right hand corner of the note. All of the bills in circulation also have raised printing which is really tough for those trying to fake bank notes to reproduce. This means that you might need to feel the note. If it doesn’t have raised text and images this could be a fake.

If you want to go really in-depth and become a pro at spotting the fakes, you can use other techniques such as learning to recognize what is a fake serial number. The letter at the start of the serial number should match up with the year of the bill being issued. For example, a serial number starting E will be from a bill issued in 2004, J is from 2009 and so on. If you learn these, you will be able to quickly check that the years line up as another way to know if you are dealing with real money or not.

If someone is paying with a fake note, you might want to get the police involved, but remember that there are many in circulation. It could be that they were passed the note from elsewhere.

Do you have any more tips on how to spot fake IDs and counterfeit money? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.