Dubai: Visitors trying to slip into the country using fake identity documents are increasingly being caught at Dubai International Airport, thanks to new passport-reading and biometrics technology designed to root out fraud.
So far this year, 1,304 fake documents were discovered by the Expertise Centre Identity and Fraud Documents (ECIFD) system at the airport, according to Maj. General Ahmad Al Merri, Director-General of the General Directorate for Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA).
He said that out of the 1,304 fake documents, 996 were forged, 157 were documents with some changes and 151 were those used by someone else other than the original owner.
The “GDRFA is striving to ensure homeland security by adopting the highest technological standards for detecting the most sophisticated fake passports, thereby improving the ability of our officers at passport control points to identify falsified passports quickly and efficiently,” Al Merri said on Sunday.
He said last year 1,090 forged documents were discovered by the ECIFD.
Al Merri added that although passports and identity documents are becoming more difficult to copy, criminals more often commit what is called ‘look-alike fraud’, an offence in which someone who looks like the passport-holder tries to enter the country.
The ECIFD stores data on travel documents and identity cards from over 200 countries. It has a library of sample documents and forgeries.
“In a bid to help verify the identities of millions of travellers passing through Dubai airport each year, the GDRFA is using high-tech passport readers,” he said.
He said 960 GDRFA staff underwent 65 training courses this year to learn the new security system.
The training centre of ECIFD develops and maintains the appropriate level of expertise regarding document checks for national and international investigation.
The training programmes are divided into three levels, the first is aimed at passport control counter employees,
the second features more advanced training for the supervisors of those counters, while the third targets employees of laboratories used to analyse suspect passports.
The basic level or the front-office training is to try to identify a counterfeit passport by how genuine the passport looks; if the front officer has any doubt, then it goes to the second level or the advanced level where there is more equipment on hand to help.
The Expertise Centre Identity and Fraud Documents (ECIFD) system is vital in reliable trend analyses and the adoption of an efficient approach to tackling fraud.