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20,000 fake licenses mostly from China seized at Chicago O’Hare airport in 2020

Customs and Border Protection seizes thousands of fake driver's licenses. (Customs and Border Protection/Released)
August 10, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents intercepted 19,888 fraudulent drivers’ licenses at the International Mail Facility (IMF) at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in the first half of 2020 alone.

Between the beginning of the year and June 30, officers at the IMF seized 1,513 shipments containing fraudulent documents including 19,888 fake licenses, the CBP indicated in a July 27 press release. CBP said most of the seized documents came from China and were bound for neighboring states.

In addition to shipments from China and Hong Kong, license shipments also came from South Korea and Great Britain.

CBP noted some of the fake licenses going through the IMF facility, bound for Michigan, actually had working bar code strips.

Customs and Border Protection seized fake driver’s licenses with working barcodes. (Customs and Border Protection/Released)

“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” Ralph Piccirilli, Acting Area Port Director, Chicago said in a statement accompanying the CBP press release. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities. Our CBP officers were able to identify these very realistic counterfeits and stop them from reaching their destinations.”

The CBP press release similarly warned, “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, and these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”

CBP said most of the licenses were for college students and that some licenses included the same picture but would have different biographical data.

Dallas-Fort Worth CBP Port Director Timothy Lemaux further warned, in a statement reported by Fox News, that those seeking a fake license are sharing their personal information with a “criminal element.”

“What is most disconcerting about these 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,” Lemaux said in a statement. “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.”