Spotting Fake Identifications

To better protect your business from credit card fraud, Podium recommends requesting a photo ID at the time of purchase. Especially for high-risk activities like high-dollar transactions that could potentially cause harm to your business.

Here are some helpful tips to help you identify fake U.S. Government Issued IDs.

General - (Primarily for US Government Issued IDs)


When looking at an identification visually, holograms often hold the key to identifying if an identification is legitimate or not.  Holograms on official documents have ben specifically designed so that they're nearly impossible to replicate accurately.  If holograms do not appear on the identification, it can be a sign that it is a fake identification.

Blurry Images

The government will not issue an ID if the individual's image is blurry or fuzzy.  When checking the ID, ensure the individual's image is clearly visible.



Government-issued IDs have a professional-grade laminate.  This is used to sea holograms and UV imagery, and to protect the card.  If the identification shows signs that the laminate is thin, peeling away, or bubbled, it is possible that the identification may be fake.


Oftentimes fake IDs will have the individual's image photoshopped onto the ID, it is best to look for discoloration, an abnormal background, if the individual has sharp edges around the face, and if the small image of the individual does not match the larger one. 


Sharp Edges

IDs issued by the U.S. government almost always have rounded edges.  If the ID has squared edges, sharp edges, or jagged edges, this is an indication that the ID may not be real.



Often fake IDs have misspelled cities or incorrect abbreviations for states.  If there is a misspelling on the ID, this is a strong indicator that the ID may not be real.


Government-issued identifications keep a consistent font across the entire document. Multiple different fonts being used on the same document can be evidence of fake identification.


If you suspect that a customer has given you a fake identification, it is advised to not deliver goods or provide services until the purchaser can produce a legitimate identification. In certain states, businesses are allowed to confiscate an ID if the identification is fraudulent. If confiscated, the business should reach out to local law enforcement.

If you would like more insight into how to combat fraud and your business, check out the Preventing Fraud Help Center article.