In today’s competitive business environment, the security of an organization’s proprietary information is crucial to its continued success. Secure Plastic ID cards are one way of increasing security.
While great strides have been made in making ID cards more secure, counterfeiters have also improved on their methods. Easily accessible “do-it-yourself” tutorials on the web, using consumer image editing software and off-the-shelf printing materials, also make it easy for amateur forgers to copy any company’s ID cards.
Fortunately, the ID card printing industry is very proactive in ensuring that it is a step ahead of these pesky fraudsters. While it is impossible to guarantee 100% security, ID card printer manufacturers have developed a variety of ways to enhance ID card security, making them more secure and harder to replicate.
Here are different visual and non-visual security elements that you can add to your ID card system to protect your cards from fraud:
- Company Logo & Employee Photo. A well-placed company logo is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to add a recognizable visual security element to an ID card. The same is true with employee photos. Most ID cards nowadays include employee photos in the front. This practice isn’t solely for aesthetic purposes. Photos make the identification card unique to the individual employee, enabling company security and other employees to easily identify and challenge unauthorized persons within company premises.
- Ultraviolet (UV) or Fluorescent Printing. With sophisticated scanning technology and printing, ID cards are now easy to replicate. One way to combat counterfeiting is through ultraviolet or fluorescent printing. Text and images printed using ribbons with a special UV or F panels are invisible to the naked eye, but are visible under a black light. This type of printing adds a layer of security to ID cards as it is virtually impossible for scanners to copy UV-printed security markings.
- Ghost Images. Some ID card printing software allow users to add “ghost” images to the plastic card during the printing process. Essentially, a “ghost” image is a semi-translucent, smaller image of an employee photo printed on the surface of the ID card. This is an inexpensive way of adding a visual security element to the card, and is easy to implement if your printer supports it.
- Micro or Nano Text Printing. Often found in passports and high denomination U.S. currency, micro text printing is one of the most secure printing processes. In micro text printing, very small security text is printed onto the card’s surface. The microscopic text is so tiny that it can’t be duplicated by most dye-sublimation, ink jet, or laser printers. Because of the complexity of the process, pre-printed microtext overlaminates are often ordered from ID supply wholesalers like ID Superstore.
- Lamination. Major manufacturers have printers that are capable of applying overlaminates on cards. Laminates are clear polyester films that are applied onto the surface of a plastic ID card using heat and pressure. They serve as a barrier that protects the card from tampering and unauthorized alterations. Holographic versions of overlaminates are also available, which add an additional layer of security to the card.
- Embedded Holograms. 3D Holograms on cards are a cost-effective way of increasing an ID card’s security. Holograms are visible from a distance and can be easily verified without the need for additional equipment. Holograms may be added to ID cards via laminates or through peel-and-stick, pressure-sensitive stickers called HoloMark seals. Some polyvinyl chloride ID cards also come with holopatch for added security.
- Barcodes and Quick Response (QR) Codes. In addition to storing cardholder information, bar codes and QR codes are excellent deterrents to ID fraud. Consider investing in a reader that can authenticate bar codes.
Protecting ID cards from fraud isn’t limited to adding security elements to the card alone. A secure and streamlined ID card creation process is equally important.
All of the visual security elements listed in this article will be for naught if the equipment and its supplies aren’t protected from unauthorized access. Listed below are simple steps you can take to combat the production of counterfeit or unauthorized ID cards.
- Secure Your ID Card Printing Equipment. Ensure that all blank ID cards, ribbons, and other materials, including the printer, are stored in a secure vault or locked room after every use.
- Restrict Access to Your ID Card Printing Equipment. Limiting access to a few trusted and supervised employees ensures that ID card production and issuance are tightly controlled.
- Monitor ID Card Issuance with Software. Consider investing in high-end ID card printers that come packaged with software that can track ID card issuance including information on how many cards were printed, who printed it, and when it was printed, among others.
For assistance in incorporating one or a combination of the options listed above, call our experienced ID experts at 1-800-667-1772.
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