Customs and Border Protection officers seized nearly 20,000 counterfeit U.S. driver’s licenses at Chicago’s O’Hare airport this year. The shipment of fake driver’s licenses were sent to the United States and originated from China and other countries, according to the report from WNYW-TV.
Within the first six months of this year, CBP reportedly seized 19,888 counterfeit driver’s licenses and other fake documents in 1,513 shipments at O’Hare International Airport alone. Federal customs officials say the shipments arrived mostly from China and Hong Kong, but there were some shipments from South Korea and Britain.
CBP said most of the counterfeit driver’s licenses were for college-age students. Many had the same photo but with different names.
Ralph Piccirilli, CBP’s acting area port director in Chicago, said the IDs were “very realistic.” CBP noted the barcodes on fake Michigan driver’s licenses actually worked.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport also intercepted fake driver’s licenses arriving through international cargo.
“In the last six months, CBP officers at DFW intercepted nearly 900 counterfeit driver’s licenses that were delivered via international shipping services to the Dallas area,” a CBP press release from April said. “Approximately 2000 fake IDs have been seized over the last 18 months.”
“What is most disconcerting about theses 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,” CBP Port Director Timothy M. Lemaux, Area Port of Dallas, said. “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.”
The CBP teamed up with local area law enforcement and local universities in the Dallas area to inform young adults about the dangers of providing their personal identifiable information online to counterfeiters abroad to obtain a fraudulent document.
Law enforcement is not only concerned that the fake IDs will be used by criminals, but also that the money made from selling the counterfeit documents are “possibly funding criminal or terrorist organizations.”
“These fraudulent identity documents can lead to identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking,” CBP said in a news release.
“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.”
Last fall, CBP agents in Kentucky intercepted nearly 3,000 counterfeit IDs and over 3,000 blank cards for counterfeiting licenses that were headed to New York City, according to Fox News.
Last month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a massive shipment of human hair products from China that could be connected to “potential human right abuses of forced child labor and imprisonment.” CBP officers at the Port of New York/Newark confiscated a shipment of 13 tons of hair products worth over $800,000.