According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), fake American driver’s licenses, typically shipped from southern China, are being seized in Memphis, Tennessee, everyday with intended destinations all across the United States.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPOs) working at the port of Memphis have been seizing the counterfeit driver’s licenses daily,” CBP announced. “Sometimes the intercepted shipments contain one license, sometimes upwards of 20 or more.”
The agency noted that most of the fraudulent licenses gave birthdays in either 1999 or 2000, leading authorities to suggest that the primary reason for the demand was for under-age people to purchase alcohol.
On Saturday, two fake licenses headed to Iowa, designated for 21-year old Missouri women, were confiscated. Earlier this month, agents in Memphis stopped a shipment from China of nearly 300 fraudulent licenses for over a dozen states that were being sent to Illinois.
Numbers of fraudulent licenses seized in Memphis have only increased in the last several months. The numbers of fake licenses confiscated from October 2021 to now have already surpassed the numbers for Fiscal Year 2021.
While Memphis agents have taken in around 4,516 licenses from October 2021 to January 21, 2022, they took in only 3,487 in all of FY 2021.
Memphis CBP agents found that many of the names on the licenses and the packages matched the names of students at places like George Mason, CalTech, Auburn, Post University, LSU. and Tulane.
Michael Neipert, Memphis Port Director said that these students were aiding a “global criminal enterprise” and fueling the “false identity industry” by ordering the fake IDs.
“What these youngsters don’t realize is that they are contributing to a global criminal enterprise,” Neipert said. “They are funding the growth of a false identity industry, which breeds more lawlessness. They want to drink a couple years earlier then they’re allowed to, but they may not know their fellow customers are criminals, scammers and those who want to mask their identity for some reason, which is never good.”
CBP noted the risks of giving away personal information, such as name and address, to international scammers, paving the way for identity theft and other crimes.
Neipert added that his office would continue to crack down on the fake ID industry.
“My officers will continue to seize these, and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and hit the direct buyers and mid-level distributors,” he said.
Earlier this month, thousands of fake driver’s licenses from Hong Kong were confiscated by CBP agents in Indiana.
Driver’s licenses from more than 20 states were seized, with some using the same photo, but different names. Some of the states represented were Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan, South Carolina, Ohio, and California.
“Counterfeit drivers licenses have historically been used by those under 21 years of age for the illegal consumption of alcohol, but fake IDs have also been used in criminal enterprises, such as identity theft cases and immigration fraud,” Chief CBP Officer Tim Hubbard said at the time.
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