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Counterfeit ID landmark

The Metropolitan Police’s specialist ID fraud team, Amberhill, recovered its 100,000th counterfeit identity document last month. The IDs, including passports, visas and drivers’ licences, were all created to help criminals operate undetected in the UK and have been recovered by Amberhill since it started in 2007. The Met reports that some 65 people have been arrested from investigations into the production of counterfeit IDs, and numerous others have had their criminal activity disrupted.

Amberhill’s Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gould, said: “These false IDs were made – and in some cases, used – to help criminals hide in the UK, get specialist jobs they are not qualified for, and carry out crime. In one case, a registered sex offender used a false ID to get work in the care industry. In other cases, fake drivers’ licences have been used by people who have never even sat a driving test, and numerous false documents, including bank statements and utility bills have been used by fraudsters to obtain mortgages and loans.”

Amberhill recovers both hardcopy false IDs and documents stored on computer hard drives. It then works with government and private industry to identify where the IDs are being used to disrupt criminals. It also works with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), identifying fraudulent documents which have been used by those applying for jobs working with children and vulnerable adults.

It is estimated by Cifas, the fraud prevention trade body, that since 2010, Amberhill has identified over £33m of fraudulent activity and prevented fraud totalling a further £75million.

The 100,000th document – a counterfeit construction skills card – was recovered from the hard drive of a man arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA). The defendant received a sentence of five years and five months in January 2015 for forgery and counterfeiting.

Detective Inspector Brendan Bannon, who also works on Amberhill, said: “We are working with the likes of the Disclosure Barring Service and other bodies to establish if and where these IDs have been used, so that we can stop their use and arrest the individuals involved. Recovering our 100,000th fraudulent ID is a landmark for us. Criminals make hundreds of pounds selling just one ID. That one ID can enable someone to carry out fraud worth thousands of pounds, or help someone unqualified or dangerous obtain a job working with children or vulnerable adults. Every time that we recover such an ID, it gives us the opportunity to stop and prevent such crime.”


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