It’s no secret that the threat landscape is ever-growing. Fraudsters are sophisticated and continue to adapt their approaches all of the time. Keeping up can feel impossible. In the world of credential issuance; however, issuers can take some steps to ensuring they stay ahead of the curve and keep those fraudsters at bay. Let’s explore the top five common threats to credential security.

5 common threats to credential security

  1. Counterfeiting – In a counterfeiting scenario, a fraudster will create false identity documents that can be quite convincing and difficult to identify as illegitimate. To mitigate this risk, it’s important to create credentials that are difficult to replicate, produce and personalize by using multiple effects and specialized technology such as high-precision lasers.
  2. Alteration – With alteration, a criminal will actually change information on a genuine document to misrepresent the identity. This could be in the form of changing the photo or altering the machine readable zone. One way to mitigate this is to layer personalization data into the document’s substrate structure as a way to provide additional security features.
  3. Recycling – A fraudster may choose to recycle credentials by removing various information pages from one passport and place them in another. However, if an issuer were to layer and integrate all elements of the credential, this would make it easy to detect when someone has tried to recycle the data pages.
  4. Component theft – Component theft is when secure materials that go into the final blank card or passport are stolen. When this happens, it can be difficult to detect because they are using genuine materials. It’s important to create a high integrity supply chain so that you can track and trace all materials throughout the process. It’s also important to use technology and security features in the personalizing process that are extremely difficult to replicate.
  5. Imposters – This method is when a fraudster uses a perfectly genuine passport or ID card that has not been altered in any way and impersonates the person on the stolen credential. If a credential has multiple portraits of the owner throughout, and those portraits are each implemented using varying technology, it would be easier to identity such imposters. Also, by using credentials that include a chip that’s programmed at the time the passport or ID card is personalized, biometric data such as fingerprints can be recorded and used for comparison.

When it comes to how best to mitigate these threats and deter criminals, we recommend stacking, or layering, technology to increase security. The characteristics of layered security features is when you take a single element and apply more than one security technology to it, which requires precise alignment. One example of this is layering a color portrait over a laser engraved portrait, which is very difficult to counterfeit or alter. Layering is intended to create synergy between each security feature, meaning it becomes more than the sum of the individual parts−making it much more difficult to recreate, copy or counterfeit credentials. Incorporating additional layers of security gives citizens peace of mind knowing their identity will be difficult to steal and gives governments a stronger, more trusted credential to validate identities.

There are  many ways to create layering. It’s a challenge to do it well and takes specialist knowledge and equipment. We recently assembled our team of experts to share their knowledge on how best to approach layering security technologies for credentials. If you’d like to learn more about which credential elements are well-suited for stacking, watch our on-demand webinar:

Or, to learn more about how Entrust can enable your credential issuance programs, visit