WASHINGTON, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report entitled, "Pervasive Passport Fraud Not Identified, but Cases of Potentially Fraudulent and High-Risk Issuances Are under Review." GAO's report detailed several shortcomings in the State Department's passport adjudication process that may lead to fraud. Specifically, GAO noted that some of the State Department's record matching services were inadequate and produced errors.
Brian Zimmer, President of Keeping IDentities Safe stated that, "GAO has released numerous reports within the past five years highlighting fraud vulnerabilities throughout the passport adjudication process. This latest report is evidence that little has changed at the State Department regarding passport fraud prevention."
GAO was tasked by Congress to assess potential fraud in the State Department's passport program. GAO detailed that between 2009 and 2010, GAO investigators found that passports had been issued to applicants who used the identifying information of deceased or incarcerated individuals, had active felony warrants, or used an incorrect Social Security number. To examine potentially fraudulent or high-risk passport issuances in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, GAO matched State's passport issuance data to a number of databases such as those containing information about individuals who were deceased, or the subject of an active warrant at the time of the passport issuance. The report did not assess the potential for fraud in identity documents such as driver's licenses and birth certificates, a problem area detailed in earlier reports.
Mr. Zimmer continued, "The precipitous rise in counterfeit identity documents, specifically driver's licenses, warrants immediate action on the part of the State Department to consider options to prevent the acceptance of counterfeit driver's licenses. It's too easy for individuals to purchase high quality counterfeits over the internet. There are already agreements and systems in place that allow the federal government to verify the authenticity of a driver's license. The State Department should capitalize on that work and close this glaring vulnerability."
"DMVs with fewer resources than the U.S. State Department do infinitely better to prevent fraud when issuing driver's licenses. The State Department should take a page out of their book and implement some common sense reforms."
"When you systematically overlook vulnerabilities to fraud, fraud occurs."
Keeping IDentites Safe (www.idsecuritynow.org) is a 501 (c)(3), non-partisan, not for profit, crime prevention, educational charity based in Washington, D.C. Its central purpose is to raise public awareness that weak state systems for issuing driver's licenses and IDs increase the risk from foreign terrorists and domestic criminals who can fraudulently assume new identities to escape detection by law enforcement.
Keeping IDentities Safe also educates and encourages parents to secure their children's identities, as well as provides information on the risks under-age persons incur when using a counterfeit or fraudulently obtained ID.
SOURCE Keeping IDentities Safe