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Fake Passports

So this was a first. Yes, we see the repeated Spam for this on the board here. Today, in the heart of Dresden, a character came near us and flashed a passport page in his hand at me - a photo page only, there was clearly no passport book involved - to see if I was interested (yes, I admit it, I must be an American with my bright red Phillies hat). I glared, I watched him attempt another person. I then saw a police car off to the side, I went over and he noticed this action and quickly without running lost himself across the street. By the time I could get my info translated to one of the police, he had just gotten out of sight. They were otherwise very interested in pursuing him, but he had gotten off. Hey, I tried.

Posted by
8889 posts

A first, a "Fake Passports" post which doesn't need reporting for breaching guidelines!

I often wonder
(a) Who buys these
(b) Do they ever work; given that in Europe, they scan passports at borders to verify them against the databse of valid passports.
But I am not prepared to spend money or risk a conviction to find out.

Posted by
2040 posts

Chris, LOL. But I had an even more to the point question instantly. Namely, how do you get your photo onto it without it being clearly pasted?

Posted by
5008 posts

I always assumed the market for these was with illegal immigrants who need an ID, not for international travel. Maybe those who want to travel incognito?

Posted by
3282 posts

Photoshop is your friend. You can insert your picture into anything. The resulting document would be totally useless anyway unless it was an actual stolen passport and even that wouldn't be good very long once it was reported. It might be good enough to fake you way out of an immigration check if you are illegally in the country, as others mentioned. I sure would't want to try and actually travel anywhere between countries with it.

I remember back in the late 1970's there were several companies selling passports from countries that didn't exist anymore or had changed their name. They looked very convincing. This was supposedly to help in a highjacking situation were US passport holders were kept as hostages while those with other passports were set free. I don't know if anyone had success with that in real life.

Edit: I am serious about the not so real passports. Can't find any online reference going back to the 70's, but here is the wikipedia subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camouflage_passport

Posted by
7680 posts

Larry, what an interesting addition to your vacation! I love that you spotted law enforcement and tried to report the guy.

Posted by
5019 posts

This was supposedly to help in a highjacking situation were US passport holders were kept as hostages while those with other passports were set free.

Yeah, the fake diplomas are really useful for hijacking situations, too.

Posted by
8889 posts

This was supposedly to help in a highjacking situation were US passport holders were kept as hostages while those with other passports were set free. I don't know if anyone had success with that in real life.

This assumed that the highjacker was ignorant of geography and didn't know the country name was fake, and also couldn't spot a US-American speaking English. Unlikely. They probably sold them an RFID passport cover at the same time.

Posted by
5256 posts

Ever watched a film where a passport is examined and shown on the screen?

Trust me they can be made to look very real and very convincing.

Trying to sell them in the Street, not so smart.

Posted by
30958 posts

Fake Passports may not work as well once the authorities are completely set-up to process the RFID chips that are now being included in Passports from many countries. The chip includes a photo of the proper holder of the document, and if that doesn't match the printed photo, it's probably not going to be a happy day for the person trying to use it. Photoshop won't help.

Posted by
377 posts

Jason Bourne gets his fake passports scanned all the time so it must work somehow.

Posted by
30958 posts

The first of the Bourne movies were made from 2002 - 2007, and at that time I don't believe Passport chips were in wide use. Of course, Hollywood movies always take some "liberties" with the facts. The Great Escape is one example of that.

Posted by
8889 posts

Yes, whenever I see these Hollywood films I am amazed how they can get not just themselves, but huge amounts of equipment and highly illegal weaponry across borders. Hollywood scriptwriters must never have crossed a border.
A government agency can get "fake" passports for their own country (viz certain Russians in Salisbury recently), fake passports from other countries that are good enough to be accepted at computerised border posts are more difficult - unless the country's passport agency cooperates.

Posted by
321 posts

To his credit, Jason Bourne also had no problem traveling to Russia under the very Russian-sounding name of Ashf Lshgshfum. Have passport - will travel.

Posted by
2347 posts

The fake passport seller does not have to convince the immigration people at the border that it's good. He just has to convince a buyer. It's not like you can go demand your money back. I guess you could leave a bad review.