A question which we are often asked by students on our counter-fraud courses is where can they find example identity documents to help with account verification/KYC (Know Your Customer). There are a number of websites that have example identity documents to help you verify whether a document is legitimate or not.
PRADO(Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online):
PRADO is a database of all the valid ID documents for EU countries, along with many documents from countries outside the EU.
PRADO also provides historical ID documents for certain countries, which can be useful for understanding if the identity document you have recieved is outdated or completely fabricated.
Edison TD is an identity document database very similar to PRADO, although it has more documents listed for countries outside the EU. Some of the ID documents also have notes/descriptions next to them which can help investigators to quickly understand what they should be looking for to verify the document.
A short blog post which looks more closely at Spanish ID cards and how they have evolved over the years. Primarily useful as background information, but useful to check if you have a large Spanish customer base.
Whilst this might seem obvious, it is often the best method to find a number of examples of the ID document you are looking for.
Using the following advanced search format will allow you to filter images by the year they were uploaded, which can help you narrow your search (remember, you won’t see a 2020 document uploaded in 2018!) :
“UK ID card” after:2018-01-01 before:2020-12-31
Yandex is a Russian search engine similar to Google and Bing – it has a very good reverse image search function, and is definitely worth using if you are looking at Russian or Eastern European ID documents.
Be aware, some of the sites that Yandex can take you to are somtimes a little more suspect than Google would, so keep your wits about you.
ID Databases – Pros and Cons
Whilst most of the documents listed on the above ID services are up to date, some databases have outdated documents and it can become difficult to know exactly when documents were uploaded and their expiry date.
Some documents are easier to alter or create counterfeits from than others – you may not want to accept all the documents listed on the databases even if they are legally accepted. Pay particular attention to documents that aren’t heavily patterned or that lack strong security features like holograms, as documents without these features are naturally easier for fraudsters to edit.
PRADO has past ID documents listed for a number of countries. This can allow an investigator to determine whether a document is a valid yet outdated ID document, which can be factored into your risk/acceptance metrics.
Even if the document is listed in one of the ID databases above, the document may still be forged or maliciously tampered with. This is especially common with fraudsters looking to pass verification checks, and is becoming harder to detect due to the availability of image editing tools.