Document verification systems - 5 reasons why they're best for finding fake identity documents

Document verification systems - 5 reasons why they're best for finding fake identity documents
Posted by David Park on 13th July 2015.

The scale of identity fraud is truly shocking. Criminal networks have become sophisticated to the point that even security experts can’t rely on traditional visual methods of detection, such as magnifying glasses and ultra violet light sources.

Since most public and private institutions don’t employ a resident Identity Fraud Expert, the only way to confidently stay one step ahead of fraudsters is to have access to the most up-to-the-minute technology and data at your fingertips. This role is now filled by identity document validation technology. 

The UK Government’s guide on document validation software and hardware ( states, that electronic scanning “provides a quick and easy way to establish the authenticity of documents presented for identity verification purposes. Scanners can play an important role in supporting front line staff to screen out counterfeit documents.”

Scanning technology has now taken a front line role in detecting forged identity documents. HR departments and security managers within the NHS, Government bodies, academic institutions and many private-sector employers across recruitment, construction, retail, facilities management and others, are taking the lead in the use of this technology. They find it's the most accurate and cost-effective commercially available solution.

Here's 5 reasons why:

1. They’re ACCURATE

Document validation systems take an image of an identity document. The image and embedded security features, including, where applicable, the RFID chip, are analysed and then compared to data captured by the OCR. In some cases both national and global databases are used to confirm if the document presented is genuine or not.

Checking technology is very effective when compared to a basic visual inspection by a person with limited training in examining documents. Most front-line staff are simply not trained to a high enough level to manually recognise fraudulent documents.

2. They’re QUICK 

With millions of documents being scanned every month, speed is of the essence. The software can process a document and deliver the results in a matter of seconds, potentially delivering thousands of results a day. The document verification systems can read identity documents, such as passports and driving licenses, as well as utility bills and other official documents used to prove identity.


Failure to comply with Government regulations can result in massive fines, and even imprisonment, if an individual or organisation is found to be complicit in identity fraud. Identity document scanners go a long way to protecting a business because the data is there to show that due diligence has been observed. Not only are there many individual pieces of legislation to comply with, but screening must not interfere with an individual’s right to privacy. Identity document verification systems tick all the legislation boxes and it is then up to the company to handle the data in an appropriate manner.

4. Maintains CONSISTENCY 

Document verification systems, either office-based or remotely accessed systems, will enable a wider and more consistent scrutiny of documents than is possible manually. Staff who are handling a wide range of official documents cannot have sufficient expertise to recognise all kinds of fraudulent documents. This is no longer necessary since the software will instantly verify whether a document is true or false.

There’s also the question of fairness - scanners will check everyone in a consistently non-discriminatory manner. There is always the risk of a human element of prejudice creeping in to manual decisions when an applicant appears to be different from the norm.


Document verification system suppliers offer a variety of financing options ranging from outright purchase with licensing and support, through to a range of rental options. Some systems can even be purchased on a 'pay as you use' credit basis. In either case, the initial investment in this verification technology is usually fairly low and the systems can be rolled out quickly and easily without significant investment in additional IT technology.


If you or your staff have the responsibility of ensuring that documents presented to you are genuine and that the holder is the rightful owner, a document verification system is the most accurate tool available. Your HR Director will appreciate that the consistency of the data output negates the need to hire an Identity Fraud Expert. And because they’re affordable, and they help the company to stay on the right side of government legislation, even the most cynical of Finance Directors should be persuaded that they're the best option for detecting fake or fraudulent documents.


David Park

Leads our product development and operational activities at TrustID, having previously spent 15 years delivering secure document processing solutions to public and private sector organisations.

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