Diamond Shield Management Press: The Biggest Delivery Companies Falling for Fake Driver Scam
Fake driver scams have made the headlines in the US over the past months. These scams, as their names suggest, involve fake licenses. The scams range in complexity. Some scammers use stolen IDs to impersonate drivers. Others obtain an ID photo. Then they Photoshop it. Afterward, change some of the data. And in the end, they create a new driver profile.
These fake IDs were at the center of many scams. Some of the biggest companies in the US were targets. Amazon drivers carrying merchandise are one example. However, scammers also impersonated Uber drivers. And the list of companies can continue.
An interesting fact is the scammers’ nationality. In multiple cases, these were Brazilian citizens. More so, they often sold the fake documents to undocumented immigrants. Learn more about these scams. We’ll also look into the authorities’ opinion of them.
Recommended article: Diamond Shield Management Report – How to Steer Clear of Robocall Red Flags
Creating the Fake Driver’s Licenses
Homeland Security Investigations agents handled the fake driver’s licenses case. They were surprised by some of their findings. More precisely, by how sloppy some scammers were. The whole strategy was quite basic. It’s incredible it even worked, according to Frankie DiGiacco, ex-prosecutor for the Justice Department of California.
The targets were delivery and ride-share companies. Scammers got employment opportunities at these companies based on fake IDs. So, how did they create those? In some cases, easier than you imagine. Some of the scammers were already working in the delivery companies. So, they dealt with lots of people regularly. For example, they delivered alcohol. Therefore, they could ask for customers’ proof of age. So, they quickly took a photo of their IDs.
Afterward, they used those IDs to create fake driver profiles. There were other ways to get hold of IDs too. For example, through internet phishing scams. Regardless of their origin, the ID photos were the basis of the scam. Criminals used them to impersonate victims or forge new identities.
The striking fact is how unprofessional the new IDs looked. According to investigators, the criminals didn’t strive for perfection. They simply swapped out the photos on the IDs. In many cases, they used their own. And only left the identification information from the real documents. In other cases, they combined different stolen identities.
Most of these belonged to customers who bought, for example, something from Amazon. However, scammers had basic photo editing skills. According to the authorities, some of the photoshopped photos were outrageous. Even someone with limited skills could have done a better job. On some IDs, they even forgot to change all the photos. They photoshopped the main ID photo. However, the small one in the watermark remained unchanged. Hence, some IDs had two different photos. One showed the actual ID possessor. The second belonged to the criminal or another victim.
Using the Fake Documents
Scammers uploaded fake driver’s licenses on different delivery company websites. Hence, they created fake driver profiles. Then, they sold them. Anyone who wanted a license, or a delivery job could pay for it. In most cases, these were undocumented immigrants. However, there were also worst cases. Convicted criminals also used the licenses. Furthermore, people with no driving right in the US bought them. Scammers leveraged the IDs to the full. On the one hand, they sold them for good money. On the other, they sometimes got referral bonuses too. This is possible thanks to the delivery companies’ policies. An employee or collaborator who recruits new drivers gets such bonuses. And these are not small. In some instances, just for one driver, the referral bonus is around $1,500.
As for the scam perpetrators, many of them were Brazilian nationals. For example, in California, five Brazilian scammers ended up in federal court. This happened shortly after other Brazilian citizens were involved in similar crimes in Massachusetts. All the while, companies using their services were not charged. Basically, they were the victims. Together with their clients.
What did the authorities fail to grasp? How scammers were not detected earlier. According to them, spotting the forged documents should have been easy. Moreover, delivery companies have strict verifications policies. Precisely to avoid identity theft and impersonation cases such as these. Yet, crooks managed to trick the system. Probably, this was due to automated verification procedures. In other words, relying on programs instead of humans to check the IDs.
The California fake driver’s license scam took place roughly from 2018 to 2020. Hundreds of Fake IDs emerged during this time. Scammers used them to create profiles on delivery and ride-share platforms. Then, they sold these identities. Often, the buyers were illegal immigrants or convicted criminals. According to investigators, thousands of consumers used these people’s services. These criminals impersonated real US citizens. With their identities, they earned from goods delivery or shared riding services. The delivery and rideshare companies were not charged in the legal lawsuits.