Vol. 76, No. 1News notes

System combats fraudulent travel documents

The new system will help police and border officials quickly identify fraudulent travel documents. Credit: INTERPOL


This past summer, INTERPOL launched a tool aimed at helping its member countries exchange information on fraudulent identity and travel documents.

Dial-Doc (Digital INTERPOL Alert Library Document) started out as an Italian-initiated project within the G8 Roma-Lyon Migrations Expert Sub-Group. INTERPOL wanted to help share this system so they partnered with the G8 group.

According to Fabrizio Di Carlo, the Dial-Doc project manager at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters, fraudulent documents are a global issue.

"Identity and travel document forgery is one of the main factors in illegal immigration and human trafficking," says Di Carlo. "It's also well established that criminals and terrorists use fake and fraudulent documents to evade detection."

Through Dial-Doc, countries can share alerts or tips on trends in document counterfeiting. The alerts provide detailed technical information and high-resolution images of both fraudulent and real documents so officials can compare suspicious documents on the spot.

On average, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) each year interdicts more than 5,000 fraudulent travel documents presented by people seeking to travel to Canada. That's in addition to the 2,000 or so cases annually of travellers presenting themselves at a port of entry.

Lynn Lawless, the director of Enforcement and Intelligence Programs Management at CBSA, says before Dial-Doc, agencies from different countries couldn't easily share information in those cases.

"As a result of this system, law enforcement, immigration and border authorities in all INTERPOL member countries now have access to a user-friendly, up-to-date searchable repository of information on travel document fraud," says Lawless.

Now, police and border officials will be able to quickly confirm a suspected fraudulent document through a search of a variety of criteria including the country issuing the document, the type of document, the type of fraud, biometric documents, the country issuing the alert, date of the publication in the Dial-Doc platform and nationality of the document holder.

"Law enforcement officials often have only seconds to decide whether to let the person standing before them into their country or not," says Di Carlo. "Dial-Doc provides them with the information they need, when and where they need it."

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