What Bulgarian Passport Scam Teaches Other Governments about Fake Passports
How Bulgaria ‘smashed a fake passport scam’ and what you can learn
Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe and has not changed its name from inception. This is a very small country, almost the size of Iceland, with a population of just 7.6 million people. Yet, its passport is so powerful that in 2018, Bulgarian passport holders can have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 169 countries and territories. This makes the Bulgarian passport the 16th most sought after in the world. And with such a powerful document comes its own issues of fraud and forgery. In fact, the more important and critical a piece of document is, the more are the chances of it getting forged or tampered.
Recently, Bulgaria claims to have smashed a passport scam which saw thousands fraudulently acquire Bulgarian citizenship - and with it, the right to travel and work in 169 countries including the European Union. More than 20 people have been arrested, including officials. Applicants are said to have paid up to $6,000 for fake certificates of Bulgarian origin.
Many of the false applications are believed to have come from states with sizeable ethnic Bulgarian minorities, including Moldova, Macedonia, and Ukraine. And agencies were issuing about 30 dubious certificates a week.
What can any government learn and how can they prevent such scams:
A passport is one of the most important documents for every individual.
While Passports and visa documents may have many built-in security features, the key documents that are used to get a passport are not as secure. It is fairly common to forge an identity proof (like birth certificate, driver’s license) a residence proof (bank statements, telephone bills), or a domicile proof to acquire a passport. There are limited security features in the most critical of underlying documents that help make such passport fraud easy for scamsters.
These miscreants are experts at forging a few simple documents like driver’s licenses, a birth certificate just as several others. They tamper with the original documents or do identity theft. One big challenge is the verification of such documents received in large numbers making it humanly (and for machines too) impossible to verify the authenticity faster and more effectively. Hence the need is to have a strong and automated capture of information for processing that will need little or no manual intervention to eliminate errors and reduce the processing time. This will allow the documents to be verified in a blink of an eye and information will be automatically captured and processed using systems.
A cutting edge and simple to use Qryptal’s secure QR code technology enables generation of a unique QR code, which can capture the key details of all important documents and is digitally signed with the private key of the issuer. Refer to the sample below:
Passport Secured with Qryptal QR
With new advances made in technology, a simple scan of the Qryptal secure QR code from an app can make authentication easy, accurate and efficient.
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