Counterfeit documents are giving criminals a license to commit crimes including terrorism, U.
S. officials say, and young adults who are careless with their personal information may be their biggest enablers.
According to a report, Customs and Borden Protection officers seized nearly 20,000 counterfeit U.S. driver’s licenses in the first six months of 2020 at Chicago’s O’Hare airport alone.
In a Fox 5 report, CBP said that the 19,888 licenses and other counterfeit documents were included in 1,513 overseas shipments, mostly from Hong Kong and China, others were from South Korea and Britain.
CBP’s acting area port director in Chicago, Ralph Piccirilli, called the fake documents and IDs (made mostly for people in their twenties) “very realistic.”
“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” Piccirilli said in a statement
“Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities.”
Timothy Lemaux, Dallas-Fort Worth CBP Port Director said seeking out a fake license overseas is dangerous because you have to give your 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.
“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.
Dallas has seen an increase in fake document seizures, around 2,000 since 2019.
CBP said that the Dallas-area CBP officers have partnered with local universities to educate students about the dangers of giving their personal information online to get a counterfeit license.
“Some of the major concerns as it relates to fraudulent identity documents is identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, and these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures,” Thomas Mahn, the Louisville port director, said.
Last fall, the New York Post reported that CBP agents in Kentucky stopped nearly 3,000 fake U.S. licenses and more than 3,000 blank card stocks for counterfeiting licenses that were headed for New York.
CBP officials added that one of the shipments was postmarked to a convicted child rapist in New York, leading agents to believe they might attract minors with the promise of counterfeit I.D.s.