To find out how deceptively fake IDs can be and whether Deepweb trading has a noticeable effect on the fake document business, I called a Frankfurt expert. Peter Hessel set up the police document verification office in Frankfurt and also helped to develop the security features of the new identity card in credit card format. He knows the tricks of the counterfeiters and is sure: “You can’t forge an identity card. You always see when something is wrong with a German ID card.”
For example, many counterfeiters use industrial paper instead of security features, which then does not remain dark under a scanner, but reflects. The pattern of small lint in the paper pulp, which glows under the UV light, must not be repeated. Often cut out parts of an original document are not congruent with the lines on which they were stuck. Also with microprinting, an offset can often be seen.
Much more often, however, counterfeiters work with people’s gullibility.
This is why the artist padeluum printed himself a “photo ID” some time ago at the Chaos Communication Congress 2013, with which he was even able to make international air travel. The authorities often only need a document showing that it somehow looks official and that a name and a photo can be seen on it. “People are very gullible, and if he’s good enough, that’s fine,” he says Phillip Banse.
Hessel can also confirm this:
“I’m no stranger to anything,” says Peter Hessel, who was on his way to a money laundering conference when I reached him by telephone. “In recent years, of course, methods have become increasingly sophisticated.” Hessel knows almost every ID card in the world. He believes that he can still detect any fake “if I have the right tools”; in this case special magnifiers, UV testing equipment and a microscope.
Hessel believes, however, that counterfeiting crime is now increasingly taking place outside of borders: At the initial reception facilities, where people are exhausted and tired, sometimes having to wait days before they can be registered. Syrians have priority: they are registered faster, their families can catch up more quickly, get asylum in almost 100% of all cases and can work faster. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, four percent of all documents were from the asylum procedures in 2015 (and 116 of them complained about, which was also partly due to expired documents).
During border controls or on construction sites, policemen repeatedly come across false passports – from January to the end of August 2015, 118 falsified Syrian documents were seized. “But this is also due to the fact that there are many more controls, for example at the Austrian-German borders,” said Hessel. Only 18 of the passports seized were used by non-Syrians.
With regard to the offers on the Darknet, he reacts calmly: “90 percent of all offers, he estimates, are fakes, i.e. fraudsters who collect the money for a forged ID card without ever creating or sending a document. “You only need a thousand bastards to fall for your 200-euro ID, and you’ve already earned 200,000 euros.” On the other hand, the sellers of false ID cards will be pleased – there were no way for German investigators to put a stop to these providers at the moment.