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How Do I Protect My ID Cards from Tampering and Counterfeiting?

Whether you are going through airport security or trying to get past the receptionist to attend a meeting, you are going to need to present some form of identification to be given access. This is how important ID cards are. In fact, you can’t even cash a check without a valid form of identification. Because of how integral ID cards are to our everyday dealings, counterfeiting of ID cards is bound to happen, and it’s a very real problem with serious implications.

Luckily, the ID card industry is very proactive in developing ways to make ID forgery difficult and expensive for counterfeiters.

If you are running your own ID card program, you should consider adding a number of security features to your ID cards to protect them from tampering and counterfeiting. Here are some of your options:


All leading ID printer manufacturers offer an ID printer model with built-in lamination capability. Some models have this feature as an optional upgrade. Lamination not only makes card last 5 times longer than their non-laminated counterparts, it also makes tampering of cards very difficult by sealing the card’s printed information under the laminate. Any attempt to remove the laminate from the card would cause the printed card's artwork to be lifted from the surface of the card, making the alteration obvious and the card useless.


Holographic images make your ID cards harder to copy, and because an optical scanner can’t accurately read them, they are virtually impossible to duplicate using off the shelf consumer equipment. Holograms are typically added to ID cards by way of holographic overlaminates or via “peel ‘n stick” stickers. Alternatively, you can buy blank PVC cards that come with embedded holopatch for extra security.

Ultraviolet and Fluorescent Printing

Security text and markings printed using special ribbons with ultraviolet (UV) or fluorescent panels add a layer of security to ID cards that is not too noticeable to the untrained eye. ID information printed using UV or fluorescent panels only become visible when viewed using special forensic equipment like black lights. Covert security features like UV printing is very effective in keeping counterfeiters at bay because they can’t copy what they do not know is there.

Microtext Printing

Micro or nano text printing is a secure printing process commonly used in passports and high-denomination currency. Because of its security benefits, it is also being utilized in ID card applications that require a high level of security. Using this specialized printing process, microscopic text is incorporated onto a card’s design that appear as regular lines to the naked eye, and because the printing is very fine, the security text is not easily discernible. This makes replication very difficult, if not impossible, using standard printing equipment.

Ghost Images

Effective and affordable, “ghost” images are semi-translucent copy of a photograph, logo, or even text that is printed onto a blank ID card. It’s a visual security element that can be implemented using most ID printers, that makes unauthorized ID reproduction a tad more cumbersome because they don’t scan well using optical scanners.


The foregoing are just some of the security features you can add to your ID cards to keep them secure from forgery. For more ID security tips, talk to one of our ID security professionals at 1-800-667-1772, or if you prefer, you may also send your inquiries through our contact form.

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