The trade in illegal ID cards is only a small part of the network, which also serves as an essential tool for free and democratic Internet communication. At the same time, the sale of passports and ID cards is one of the branches of trade on the Darknet, against which the police are still largely powerless.
On the four online black markets, where I searched for fake IDs, there was a colorful bunch of offers across all nationalities – but with a focus on US driving licenses from all states, because they not only seem to be easy to forge, but in the United States there is also no identification requirement like here in Europe.
For a German ID you usually have to put out at least 300 Euro in Bitcoin, but more often 600 or more (the picture above is the cheapest offer I have found). The new German identity card is one of the most secure identification documents in the world due to its security features.
To avoid this problem, merchants simply offer old, laminated identity cards that are easier to forge – for example, by cutting it open with a scalpel, mounting the plastic, carefully scraping the photo away and replacing it with a new image in the napkin technique before sliding the whole thing through the laminator. It wasn’t difficult to get details about the forged IDs – the forgers answered my questions immediately and politely.
For example, one of them writes:
“We are extremely proud of our German fake ID card, and it is an ID with an incredibly large number of security features that are very advanced – and which we have replicated in painstaking detail. There is an identigram, a holographic replica of the passport image you provide us with. The ID also has watermarks visible under black light on both the front and back. The machine-readable zone (MRZ) is calculated correctly on the basis of the ID data you give us and which we will scan. This is by far the best ID we offer. Although it is an old version (issued until 2010), the cards are still valid until 2020, which guarantees them a very long life span”.
I ask two other vendors whether I could also cross borders with their product and whether security features such as holograms would also be counterfeit. Their answers:
“Sure! It’s without holograms, but in good quality and absolutely unbeatable for the price. I have many customers who have had very good experiences with the card. “I sold over 300. Nobody was dissatisfied.”
“I can print you a replica hologram so you can easily cross borders and open bank accounts as long as you speak the language.”
Another even asserts self-confidently:
“We are an information technology group with the cooperation of IATA-certified customs and immigration experts. 100% perfect replica with holograms and security features: USA, Europe, Middle East, Asia And Africa. We work with former customs officers.”
Refugees do not seem to be the target group, as another salesman writes at my request:
“I don’t think so. The people who buy here are criminals like murderers or want to cheat. “Besides, there’s fake ID cards on site.”
Another seller on the Abraxas black market says:
“In Syria, so many printers have fallen into the hands of the rebels since the beginning of the civil war that you can get everything from smugglers there or at the latest in Turkey anyway.”
Only one salesman is active and proposes a politically motivated bargain that almost warms our hearts:
“Because of all the terrible problems that have befallen our Syrian brothers and sisters in the last few days, we have decided: Anyone of Syrian nationality, anywhere in the world, can order a Syrian passport-for -75% of the cost including express shipping. This is not a limited offer, only for our Syrian brothers in the human spirit. God bless Syria, God bless humanity. Welcome to FakeMarket and make all your dreams come true.”