INTERPOL gathers international experts to counter threat of fraudulent documents

LYON, France – International experts from the law enforcement community, international organizations and the private sector have met at INTERPOL's General Secretariat headquarters to review and shape best practices against the threat of document counterfeiting.


Some 140 participants from nearly 50 INTERPOL member countries, five international organizations (UNODC, Frontex, ICAO, Europol and the OSCE) and 17 private companies attended the three-day (17 – 19 October) Conference on Fraudulent Documents to exchange ideas, review emerging trends and shape best practices against document counterfeiting.

The meeting also provided an operational framework for multidisciplinary cooperation between law enforcement, academia and public and private partners.

Amongst keynote speakers at the meeting, Rolf Hofer of the Forensic Science Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, underlined the fundamental role of training and technical capacity building: “Access to expert knowledge from academia, the private sector and international organizations is an essential prerequisite to tackling document fraud.”

Samiah Ibrahim, a senior Canadian forensic document examiner said a global response was necessary to address the threat of fraudulent documents: “As an international community we must work together, pool our resources, and share information so that crime trends do not move from country to country, and so that we see a decrease in crimes enabled by fraudulent documents as their use becomes more and more limited by our collective work.”

With fraudulent documents an enabler of crime, the use of fraudulent documents for human smuggling and human trafficking was highlighted during the conference.

“The fraudulent use of identity and travel documents threatens the security of countries and their citizens, economies, and global commerce, facilitating a wide range of crimes and terrorism. Combining the private sector’s technological knowledge and law enforcement’s investigative experience is the only way we can prevent document fraud and bring criminals to justice,” said Jose De Gracia, Assistant Director with INTERPOL’s Criminal Networks unit.  

INTERPOL provides its 192 member countries with technical databases, online reference tools, a forensic laboratory and tailored training programmes against fraudulent documents. Its training courses and seminars are often carried out in partnership with other organizations, encouraging innovation and turning training into operational practice.

In this respect, INTERPOL has designed its own e-learning module on Security Document Examination, funded by the US Department of State and available in INTERPOL’s four official languages (Arabic, English, French and Spanish) to all its member countries.

As the International Central Office for the Suppression of Counterfeit Currency, INTERPOL has also developed Project S-Print to mitigate the risk posed by the market in second-hand intaglio presses.

The project includes more than 25 businesses in security printing and associated industries. Its goal is to prevent organized criminal networks from sourcing equipment and materials that could be misused for counterfeiting.