Spot False Identification Documents During the Hiring Process
Beyond the Bar
Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching, and underclassmen everywhere are buying sombreros, margarita glasses and fake IDs to prepare for the Mexican party. Fake IDs run rampant on college campuses, and you might have even been guilty yourself—but there’s a new venue illegals are sneaking into: the workplace. With 11.9 million illegal aliens needing work, it’s important to know how to spot false documents during the employment eligibility verification process to save your business big ICE fines and bigger brand trouble.
Brand trouble that quick-service restaurant company, Chipotle, ran into last December. After an ICE audit of its 50 Minnesota units, it’s speculated that, of those 1,200 employees, Chipotleterminated about 350 of them due to insufficient documentation. Although company policy requires all hires to complete an I-9 form, many employees, ICE discovered, submitted counterfeit identification.
Driver’s licenses issued by the state always have the state seal or an outline of the state in a hologram on the license. Hold the license up to the light, and tilt it back and forth; you should see a mirror-like, rainbow imprint of the state. Generic holograms exist on fake IDs so be sure to check for the specific state. You can also purchase identification books that tell you what to look for on each state’s license.
The edges of driver’s licenses are completely uniform. The paper used is hard to print on, and even harder to obtain. Many counterfeit licenses, therefore, are pieces of laminated paper. Sharp or rough edges are clear indicators of forged documents. Additionally, the corners of laminated papers tend to separate and curl, letting you know the license is not real.
- Magnetic Strips
Encoding equipment—used to scan licenses or other magnetic strips—is extremely expensive, leaving fake IDs with the appearance of magnetic strips, but not the functionality. If you have a scanner, run the ID for a quick answer to “real or fake?”
- Paper density
The weight of passport paper is much denser than average computer paper. Many falsified documents are laminated printouts of real passports. If the pages are printer-paper light, it’s likely you have a false document on-hand.
- Control numbers
The first page of United States passports has a line of code at the bottom of the page. Missing numbers from this sequence are a telltale sign that someone has tampered with the document.
- Embossed images
Laminate on passports have embossed security images. While these can best be seen with special equipment, they can also be detected by holding the pages up to light. Missing images pinpoint a fake passport.
Social Security Cards
- Number format
The standard number format for Social Security cards is XXX–XX–XXXX. If the number on the card is set up differently, it is a counterfeit card.
Social Security cards are issued on banknote paper, making them heavier and rougher than printer paper. Additionally, intaglio printing—which causes raised lettering and coarse texture—is used on a front portion of each card. Run your hands along the card to get a “feel” for if a card is fake or not.
Pink, yellow and blue disc shapes, called planchettes, are scattered all over government-issued Social Security cards. Lack of planchettes is a sure sign of a falsified document.
Using these practices will help tip-off false documents, increasing your legal compliance and decreasing your risk for steep ICE fines for unauthorized employees. Catching false documentation isn’t always possible, especially with experts who can fake the details;automated I-9 software and e-verification tools are additional tools that can help recognize false documents.
Celebrate sound hiring practices with all of your legal employees this Cinco de Mayo.
The PeopleMatter Institute