How strong is your ID verification?

Young man compared against ID using software

Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 11:42 am

Not all ID verification is created equally. Many businesses think they are performing age verification, when the hardware and software they are using is not actually equipped to detect suspicious IDs. More than 46% of college students say they’ve used a fake ID to get past age restrictions. And today’s fake IDs can be imperceptible to the naked eye. So what level of ID verification are you performing at your business?


  • Hardware capabilities
  • Sophistication of 2D barcode parsing algorithm
  • Breadth of IDs you need to verify on a daily basis
  • Third party integrations
  • Staff training

What is ID scanning?

ID Scanning simply means an ID was digitally scanned. It does not necessarily include any level of verification or authentication. In many cases the scanning software is simply  calculating if the birth and expiration dates indicate if a given individual is of age, and that their ID is not expired, but no security features are embedded in the software.

What is ID validation?

ID validation performs a basic parsing of the barcode or MRZ data, and checks for a match between the data stored in the barcode, and the data on the front of the ID. 

At IDScan.net we also perform 134 checks on the 2D barcode, at this stage. These are essentially what could be called an “easter egg check.” Most ID formats have some intentional quirks or known consistencies. This might be something as simple as “for all Nebraska IDs, the ID number always starts with an A or a Q.” These are validation points that our algorithms have identified over our 15+ years scanning IDs, and so we’ve built them into our validation stage to help catch some fake IDs.

Validation can be done using all ID scanners, and with the right software, can even be done using a mobile phone. 

Many providers simply provide scanning and parsing, while more sophisticated age verification tools will perform their own checks on the barcode. Data from the ID can also be parsed into your database, CRM, or POS at this stage.

What is ID authentication?

Authentication is the most stringent stage of ID checking. Authentication requires specialty hardware. A phone, or low end scanner, will not be equipped with the type of camera or lighting required to truly put an ID through its paces. The following checks occur during ID authentication:

  • Minimum 400 DPI image capture for both sides of the ID
  • UV hologram screening library
  • IR watermark screening library
  • White light scanning
  • Additional algorithmic checks on the physical ID

ID authentication can be performed concurrently with ID validation. Authentication provides the highest degree of fake detection and accurately catches the majority of suspicious IDs. Even the best fake ID manufacturers have difficulty passing the hundreds of checks that are done in the authentication stage. 

Basic ID parsing2D barcode securityID authentication
Parse 2D barcode (PDF417) on IDs & drivers licenses
Date of birth is compared to current date to determine age on ID
ID expiration date is compared to today’s date
75+ algorithmic checks on 2D barcode
Data format checks
Barcode size/dimension checks
Jurisdiction specific barcode checks
Compare 2D barcode data to text on the front of the ID using OCR
Ultraviolet (UV) light scanning
Infrared (IR) light scanning
6-image capture and comparison
Hologram library checks
Watermark library checks
Document template & visual inspection
Catch up to 95% of fake IDs

Identity verification

Beyond checking the physical ID, there is an additional layer of verification that can be performed – which is matching the human holding the ID to the ID itself. This can be performed in a number of ways. 

In-person, this can be performed using a web camera, which matches the live photo of the individual’s face to the photo on their ID card. 

If the ID checking is remote, or mobile, this can be performed using a selfie. Our mobile ID validation solution includes anti-spoofing which ensures that a photo or video is not being used to trick the software. 

How to improve identity verification for your business

It is straightforward and simple to increase your security, age verification, and fake detection. 

Contact our team to see how we can implement affordable solutions to help you authenticate IDs, verify your customers, and stay compliant.