CBP snares fake driving licenses in Louisville

Customs officers in Louisville, Kentucky, have seized two shipments containing 4,420 counterfeit US driving licenses inbound from Hong Kong.

The documents – which can be used for criminal activity or fraud – were described as 'postcard' and 'postcard box' on the bill of lading. The two shipments took the total number of seized licenses in a 14-day period to nearly 7,800.

The counterfeit licenses seized were for several states including California, Ohio, Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan. Most were for college-age students, and some licenses would share the same picture but have a different name, said Customs and Border Protection in a statement.

"That’s a lot of counterfeit driver's licenses and the reason is not always so college age kids, who are under 21, can consume alcohol, but also be utilised for fraudulent activities," said Thomas Mahn, CBP's port director for Louisville.

"Many of these licenses can and would be used to defraud government benefit programmes, commit credit fraud by using a false identity, or carry out consumer fraud, which can damage the economy and cost the American people," he added.

A 2020 study by researchers at from Michigan State University (MSU) found evidence of large numbers of fake identity documents being sold online for prices ranging from as little as $5 to $5,000, with many purchases made using hard-to-trace bitcoin transactions.

Only two companies have authorization by the Department of State to print international driver’s licenses in the US, namely the American Automobile Association (AAA) or American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

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