U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Chicago have seized more than 19,000 fake IDs in the first half of this year, with the majority arriving from China and Hong Kong, the federal agency said.
The fake driver’s licenses were intercepted at the International Mail Facility (IMF) at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport between Jan. 1 and June 30 this year, according to a news release issued by the CBP.
“Take a look at these IDs—same person, different bio info,” CBP Chicago said on Twitter. “Officers in Chicago have kept a tally of how many fraudulent IDs have come through the O’Hare mail facility. From Jan. 1 to June 30, CBP officers have seized nearly 20,000 counterfeit driver’s licenses.”
The 19,888 seized fraudulent IDs which arrived from China, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and South Korea were, in the majority of cases, headed for neighboring states, mainly for “college-age students.”
“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” CBP’s Ralph Piccirilli said in a statement. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities.”
CBP said many of the fraudulent IDs had the same photograph, but different details listed. A major cause for concern was that the bar code attached to the fake Michigan licenses worked.
The fake IDs, the CBP said, can lead to identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, and fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking.
“These documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”
Last November, the CBP said it intercepted more than 5,000 fake IDs, or the blank cards used to make them, sent from China at a Louisville, Kentucky, Express Consignment Operations hub, that were headed to various states nationwide, including New York.
Of these, 2,909 were counterfeit driver’s licenses, and 3,123 were blank cards used to make fake IDs, it said in a press release.
One of the fraudulent IDs was headed to a convicted child rapist located in New York, officials said, noting that authorities believe the individual “entices minors with alcohol and counterfeit IDs before engaging in illicit activity.”
Timothy Lemaux, CBP port director for Dallas-Fort Worth, warned against obtaining fraudulent identity documents overseas, as counterfeiters will have access to personal information.
“What is most disconcerting about these interceptions, besides the volume in which we are experiencing, is the ease in which so many young people freely share their personal information with counterfeiters abroad,” Lemaux said in a statement, reported Fox News.
“We’ll continue to collaborate with local law enforcement to educate the public, and anyone who is contemplating purchasing a counterfeit ID online, on the potential dangers of sharing your personal, identifiable information with a criminal element.”