The COVID pandemic limited and shut down business operations around the globe, yet criminals managed to perform dastardly deeds despite the challenges—including those who produce and distribute fraudulent identity documents.

We reported some of the headline-grabbing fake ID busts during the pandemic, such as 1,000+ Fake IDs Seized by U.S. Customs & Border Protection and Dutch Border Police Snag 1,400+ Fake Travel Documents. But smaller, more individual discoveries of fake IDs occur every day around the world. What does the big picture tell us?

For an informed perspective on this topic, we turned to recent reports some trustworthy sources who track and research these trends. Read on to learn about the most common fake ID documents found in 2022.

Forged ID documents on a global scale

For the year 2022, Sumsub analyzed half a million fraud attempts and found that most of the ID fraud detected worldwide could be attributed to five countries: 

Bangladesh  8.1%  ID Card
Pakistan    6%  ID Card
Vietnam    10%   ID Card
Nigeria   2.7%    ID Card
USA 2.4% Driver’s license


The report from Sumsub goes on to remind readers that “a forged document can be either a real document (physical or electronic) which contains altered information or a non-existent, or fabricated, document.” Also, they explain, document forgery includes:

  • The creation of a fake document from scratch, or
  • Deliberately changing a genuine document in order to add, delete or modify information, while presenting it as genuine. Forged documents can include photo substitution, data alteration, change in visas, or ID numbers, etc.

Finally, Sumsub finds that fraudsters tend to target documents with:

  • Low document security
  • Legal loopholes
  • Low privacy awareness among citizens

A European perspective: some surprising trends in fake documents

Our esteemed colleagues at Identity Week recently reported on the most common forms of fake documents in 2022. Here are some of their findings:

  • In 2022, passports remained the most common fake document seen by our customers – the same as our previous two years’ analysis. They made up 45% of the total of all fake documents we saw in 2022. (This is up 6% on last year’s figure.)
  • There has been a major drop in the number of fraudulent ID cards presented in 2022, with ID cards making up only 18% of all fake documents. This decline reflects an ongoing trend [seen throughout the pandemic].
  • The fraudulent identity document which our customers saw most often was a British passport. Of all the fake documents we detected last year, over half (55%) were British.
  • Irish documents have also seen a huge increase in 2022, taking them to the second most commonly seen fraudulent document. In 2021, only 4% of fake documents seen by our customers were Irish.

Identity Week points out that British and Irish documents are sophisticated, secure, and full of security features. Why then are there so many fakes? Identity Week reasons that:

  • Fraudsters may believe these documents will be seen as familiar and trusted documents and less likely to be thoroughly scrutinized [a reminder not to perform only cursory inspections of familiar documents].
  • If and when such a forgery is accepted, it gives the holder “an unlimited right to access services in the UK, including work and property.” [Thus, making it worth the risk.]

Countering today’s passport fraud epidemic

During the COVID pandemic, Joachim Caillosse, Chair of the Secure Document Working Group of the Secure Identity Alliance, underscored that,Passport fraud is a…a growing problem. While Covid-19’s debilitating effect on international travel has helped to slow the rise of passport fraud…the longer-term picture tells a different story altogether. Some 100m travel documents were reported lost or stolen in 2020 and according to Frontex Risk Analysis, passports represented 47% of the fraudulent documents detected at European Union external borders in 2019, leading some commentators to decry a growing passport fraud “epidemic’.”

He also points out that, “Document fraud is a serious crime, one that has implications that stretch from personal identity theft all the way through to national security. Moreover, document fraud often serves as the foundation upon which other threats are built – human trafficking, drug smuggling, and terrorism amongst them.”

Learn how to help fight passport fraud with Secure Identity Alliance’s comprehensive report, “Passport Fraud Trends and Ways to Combat Them.”


Identity Week


Secure Identity Alliance

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The Keesing Platform team brings you the latest in various fields, including security documents, security printing, banknotes, identity management, biometrics, blockchain, crypto technology and online onboarding.

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