Document fraud: 5 types of fraud

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Banking & Insurance, Identity verification, Headlines

What is document fraud?


Document fraud is the practice of using falsified or fraudulently obtained documents. Its aim is to deceive, defraud orusurp the identity of others. It represents a serious threat in many areas. Banking systems, publicadministrations, social benefits, etc. are the main targets.


But what are the most common types of document fraud? There are many different types of document fraud. From falsified identity documents to identitytheft and the use of false credit cards.


The different types of document fraud




Counterfeiting is one of the most common types of document fraud. It involves the complete reproduction of an official document, such as a certificate of conformity or a commercial license. Although difficult to produce, forgeries are often poor reproductions that are easily detected by the naked eye.


Concrete examples of counterfeiting include suppliers forging ISO 9001 certification. This allows a company to be fooled into believing that they meet a certain quality standard. This can cause significant damage to the company. To protect yourself from counterfeiting, it's important to check documents thoroughly and report anything suspicious to the appropriate authorities.




Falsification is another type of document fraud. It involves the fraudulent alteration of an authentic document. This can involve falsifying the validity date, identity details or even the photograph on a document. This type of fraud is often difficult to detect, as falsified documents may appear genuine at first glance.


Concrete examples of falsification are numerous, and can include employees falsifying invoices to increase the amount. Or suppliers falsifying contracts to alter their terms. However, there are ways to protect yourself against such fraud. For example, by carefully examining all documents and verifying the authenticity of identification numbers and signatures. It is also advisable to have strict control procedures for the management of professional and commercial documents. For example, invoices and contracts. When in doubt, it's a good idea to contact a document fraud expert to assess the veracity of a document.


Identity theft


Identity theft is a type of document fraud that occurs when someone uses an identity document belonging to someone else. In this case, the document is genuine, but the person using it is not. To avoid falling into this trap, it's important to carefully check the photo on the identity document and compare it with the person in front of you. To do this remotely, you can use online identity verification tools.


If you are a victim of identity theft, report the incident immediately to the authorities and seek help from a document fraud specialist. There are many examples of identity theft. Particularly online, where fraudsters often use stolen identity documents to steal someone else's identity for illegal gain. To protect yourself from identity theft, make sure you have a strong password to access your online accounts. And never share your personal information with anyone. If in doubt, seek the advice of an IT security professional.


Stolen blank documents


Blank stolen documents are genuine documents that have been stolen before being personalized. They can be fraudulently completed by thieves, fences or counterfeiters, and then qualified as "falsified documents". In the past, this type of document fraud was commonplace during delivery or at the town hall. However, with the biometric passport, the production of identity documents is now finalized at the Imprimerie Nationale.


To guard against document fraud, it is advisable to be vigilant when receiving documents. Record and track serial numbers, and report lost or stolen documents. It is also important to check the authenticity of identity documents by carefully comparing photos with the people presenting them.


Fanciful documents


Fake documents are one of the most difficult types of document fraud to detect. In this case, the document presented is not a copy, but a document created from scratch by the forger. Fake documents can be invoices, contracts, certificates of conformity or any other commercial or professional document. Their creation requires a certain amount of expertise and technical know-how.


There are many concrete examples of fraudulent documents, particularly in the field of falsified invoices. Fraudsters may create false invoices for goods or services they have never supplied. In this way, they attempt to obtain payment from their victim. To protect yourself from fraudulent documents, it's a good idea to check every document carefully, looking for any inconsistencies or anomalies. Never rush to sign a document, especially if you're not sure of its provenance or authenticity.


Summary table of the 5 types of document fraud


The following table summarizes the types of document fraud you may encounter. We have also included the ease of detection and the concrete actions that can be taken to reduce this fraud.


CounterfeitingFull reproduction of an official documentEasyCheck each document visually
FalsificationFraudulent alteration of an authentic documentDifficultCross-referencing information from different documents
Identity theftUse of an identity document belonging to someone else+ or - difficultCheck photo ID carefully
Stolen virginModification of a stolen document before it has been assigned to a person+ or - difficultCheck photos and additional documents
Fanciful documentsCreating a document from scratchEasySearch for inconsistencies and anomalies


Combating document fraud


6 measures to implement


Preventing and combating document fraud requires robust, proactive measures.

  • First and foremost, it is imperative to establish rigorous verification procedures. Particularly when collecting, examining and archiving documents within the company.
  • Raising staff awareness and training them in the risks associated with document fraud are also essential.
  • Integrating cutting-edge technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR ) and electronic verification systems can enhance the detection of falsified documents.
  • In addition, strict access controls to sensitive information and the segmentation of tasks within the organization can reduce opportunities for fraudulent manipulation.
  • Collaboration with document security experts and participation in anti-fraud certification programs are other crucial ways of reinforcing corporate vigilance.
  • Finally, a policy of reporting incidents of document fraud, accompanied by clear investigation procedures, will help to deter potential fraudsters while enabling a rapid and effective response to such situations.

By combining these measures, a company can build a strong defense against document fraud, protecting its assets, reputation and credibility.


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