Saturday, November 25, 2006

Are Counterfeit Documents being Mass-Produced in Nigeria?

In the past several years, we've seen all sorts of counterfeit financial instruments (money orders, cashiers checks and now American Express gift cheques) being passed in Internet scams.

A recent TimesOnline story stated:
Nigerians are forging passports and cheques on an industrial scale and that huge numbers of false documents are passing through provincial British airports.

The face value of the fraudulent financial instruments discovered in "routine checks" amounted to millions of dollars, and the documents (non-financial) are probably used in "illegal immigration.
Story, here.

The TimesOnline article also mentions that the UK is a staging ground for a lot of the stolen merchandise, which are proceeds of auction fraud.

According to the article, the activity also enables the criminals to return (easily) should they get caught:
Suspected Nigerian fraudsters, who have been deported in exchange for charges against them being dropped, are re-entering Britain using forged travel documents and resuming their activities, according to the study.

Other suspects are absconding and disappearing because, unless they are accused of crimes involving more than £50,000, they are being released on bail.

I wonder how many of them get bailed out on a stolen identity, assume another one, and go right back into business?

We seem to see story after story about what a huge problem counterfeiting has become. One of the main reasons is that technology makes it easy to do, and if anyone is caught, the consequences are minimal.

It's true that the article is about activity in the United Kingdom, but the problem isn't contained to the British Isles.

And Nigeria isn't the only place counterfeit documents are being made.

Asia has also been a reported "source" for a lot of counterfeiting. For instance, it's widely believed that North Korea has been flooding the world with "supernotes" (counterfeit $100 bills) that are almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Wikipedia article, here.

If you read through the article, it tells of ties to terrorist organizations and organized crime syndicates.

Nigeria might be a source of counterfeit documents, but they aren't the only one. The United States also is known to have a lot of counterfeit documents being produced, also.

If they didn't, it would be hard for the 14 to 20 million illegal immigrants to find jobs. has an interesting page has an interesting page (with pictures) of a lot of the counterfeit items (from Nigeria), here.

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