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Notary Tip: Top 5 Security Features On IDs

The essential task of every Notary is to verify the identity of their signers. Every day, signers present their drivers licenses or ID cards, and they have a multitude of looks. With so many sophisticated fake and altered ID cards on the market, how can you be certain that an individual’s ID is valid? Checking the ID’s security features is key.

Document fraud expert Joseph Vasil recommends checking these five common security features on an ID:

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1. HOLOGRAM
 

Most states issue driver’s licenses that contain a hologram. To view a hologram, simply hold the ID against a light source and tilt it back and forth. On government-issued IDs the holograms usually depict state seals, state flags, or historical references to that jurisdiction. Generic holograms, such as lock-and-key icons, or words like “authentic” or “secure” are seldom used on government-issued IDs.


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2. UV IMAGE
 

Commonly called a blacklight image, a UV image appears when UV light is shined on an ID. The image can depict anything from a photo of the cardholder to the name of the issuing state. UV images may appear on the front or back of a card.


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3. MICROPRINTING
 

This is very small print (text) that you need a magnifier to see. It is sometimes disguised in the background pattern of an ID. (This is the best and quickest way to detect counterfeits.)


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4. LASER PERFORATION
 

Small holes are made in the ID card during production. When the card is viewed against a direct light source, a distinct shape or image appears. These images are usually representative of the issuing jurisdiction.


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5. TACTILE FEATURE
 

Raised (tactile) print on an ID may represent an ID number, DOB, or issue and expiration date. You can detect a tactile feature by running your fingers over the surface of the card.

Not every state incorporates all of these security features in their driving and ID credentials. As noted above, the images coded into an ID document are usually unique to the state that issues it. It’s a good idea to stay up to date on the security features included in IDs issued by your state. For other states, having a reliable ID reference guide is essential for comparing a live ID to the credentials issued in that state.

About the author: Kristin Stanberry is an editor and ID document acquisition expert for Keesing Technologies, global leader in ID document verification. She gathers her knowledge from multiple sources throughout North America, including personal contacts with leading experts and government agencies.

Note: Images courtesy of Keesing Technologies Documentchecker.com reference database.