What’s the best scanner to catch fake IDs?

Woman holding fake ID in front of her face to get into a bar

Last updated on March 12th, 2024 at 01:06 pm

Has your business recently been looking for the best ID scanner for catching fakes?

If so, you and your business may have already started searching online for an ID scanner that matches your needs for catching those fakes and fraudulent IDs. But with so many ID scanners available in the market, how can you tell which scanner is the best choice?

At IDScan.net, we understand the importance of working with an ID scanner and age verification software that actually detects fake IDs. There are dozens of applications that come up when you search “fake ID detector” or “fake ID scanner” but the truth is: most are just verifying the age on the 2D barcode and comparing it to today’s date. Most don’t perform any ID authentication or fake ID detection at all. In fact, top mobile apps were found to catch only 35% of fake IDs in our blind comparison.

Every time an ID is scanned, your business has the power of choosing what data you would like to extract from the barcode or MRZ. However, not all scanners have the same inherent capabilities. Some can process and save images, some cannot. Some can perform authentication, some cannot. Businesses must consider what they need out of their ID scanner, then identify the best scanner and accompanying software to meet those needs.

In this blog, we will explore choosing the best ID scanner for your business, identifying the best ID scanner solution, and reviewing ID scanning products offered by IDScan.net that can meet a variety of flexible business needs.

Choosing the best ID scanner for your business’ needs

It is important to determine your ID scanning needs before purchasing a scanner, as “ID scanning” and “ID verification” are both broad terms. Even “fake ID detection” can have different meanings based on your acceptable thresholds. There are varying levels of ID scanning technology that your business may require or want to obtain when allowing entrance to a property or selling age-restricted items.

Key questions to ask

  • How crucial is catching fake IDs? Is your business license at risk if you serve a minor?
  • Which types of IDs do you need to scan? Do you need to scan both drivers’ licenses and passports? Military IDs?
  • Do you need to use a handheld scanner?
  • Do you need to have customers sign an agreement or waiver as part of the check-in process?
  • Would it be helpful to capture images of your customers? Either a photo of their ID or a cropped image?
  • Are chargebacks a problem for your business?

When you are checking IDs routinely with lower stakes, you can rely on a lower-tier option that just performs 2D barcode security. 2D barcode security may likely be a sufficient ID scanning solution for your business under these circumstances.

What is 2D barcode security?

2D barcode security checks are checks which look for anomalies in the barcode on an ID. This can be the size or placement on the physical document. It can also be looking at the format of the individual fields (order, abbreviations, etc.) stored in the PDF417 barcode. These checks are created using algorithms and AI after scanning and processing hundreds of thousands of IDs. They will catch poorly made fakes in many instances. Most ID scanning and age verification software does not catch any fraudulent IDs based on the barcode. If they can scan the barcode, and the barcode says the customer is of-age, they give a digital thumbs up.

ID scanners capable of performing 2D barcode security

Below are our most popular scanners which are capable of performing 2D barcode security and catching some fake IDs. These are ideal for many types of businesss.

Best handheld scanner for catching fake IDs

Panasonic N1 Toughbook Handheld ID Scannner

The rugged TOUGHBOOK N1 is a military-grade mobile scanner that can handle drops and spills. This scanner will quickly scan IDs and return results.

The N1 allows for a touch-free process – IDs never have to change hands to be scanned.

The Panasonic N1 is a favorite in casinos and cannabis dispensaries because of its reliability for high volume scanning, and its ability to scan passports using laser scanning, without having to toggle to the camera for camera-scan.

Best ID scanner for capturing images

E-Seek M280 ID Reader

This ID scanner reads and captures images of both sides of the ID, however, the interface requires users to flip the document or ID over during this process. Because this ID checker is optimized for capturing high-quality images it can be used to add images of other documents to your customer record, such as receipts and signatures. This makes it ideal for combatting chargeback fraud.

The E-Seek M280 ID scanner can also read magnetic stripes. However, it cannot scan or read passports or other MRZ documents.

It requires a hook-up to a Windows computer to run. But does not require any additional power, which means it can easily be used with a laptop for portable ID scanning.

The M280 is a favorite of nightclubs because if its use in fighting chargebacks, and its ability to capture cropped ID photos for visitor records.

Best affordable ID scanner for catching fake IDs

IDWare9000+ Handheld ID Scanner

This mobile ID scanner is an efficient solution for quickly scanning IDs. Although not quite as durable as the N1, it is dust and water-resistant.

The IDWare 9000 also allows for touch-free scanning, as the ID will never have to change hands in order to be scanned. This scanner includes IDScan.net’s VeriScan Mobile software that allows for multiple entry alerts to avoid pass-backs. 

While it can scan all global passports, it does require toggle to a camera scanning feature, which can make it cumbersome for businesses with a large amount of international IDs.

But if you are dealing with highly sensitive products or information, you may need some of the more comprehensive solutions to ensure you are catching 90%+ of fake IDs.

ID authentication – true fake ID detection & age verification

Comprehensive ID authentication will conduct the following functions to determine if the ID is real or fake:

  • Ensure the ID is not expired and that the patron is not underage by reading the 2D barcode
  • Match the information on the barcode to the information on the front of the ID using OCR
  • Check the ID to ensure it matches state standards under white light, UV light, and infrared light
  • Check the ID against hologram and watermark libraries for its unique jurisdiction

The best ID scanners for catching fake IDs

Many ID scanners have the capability of performing this functionality, but they just aren’t paired with adequate software. You will need both the ID scanning device and ID authentication software if you are looking for a device that will catch the vast majority of fake IDs and help you stay compliant.

Best ID scanner for catching fakes and scanning passports

Thales AT9000 (AT9K) Document Reader

This is a full-page passport and document scanner. The Thales (formerly Gemalto) AT9000 can scan and capture images from both IDs and passports, although users must flip IDs over in order to capture both sides of the document.

This scanner performs full authentication – checking documents under white, UV, and infrared light.

It comes with a domed hood, which makes it ideal for scanning IDs in brightly lit environments. Its durability and lack of moving parts make it a favorite of the TSA, security organizations, and airports.

However, the AT9000 is quite large and heavy. It needs significant desk space to setup and hook to a computer. So while it can read a variety of document formats, it may not be ideal for space-constrained environments.

Best affordable driver’s license scanner for catching fakes

Thales CR5400 Duplex Driver’s License Scanner

With the Thales (formerly Gemalto, formerly 3M, formerly known as Prince?) CR5400, an ID can be simultaneously read while capturing an image of it with this compact desktop scanner.

This driver’s license scanner works a little differently than many traditional scanners. Users simply drop the ID in the top slot facing either direction (orientation doesn’t matter- it will read the document either way!), and the ID is ejected from the top once it is read. This scanner performs full authentication – checking documents under white, UV, and infrared light.

The CR5400 is extremely lightweight and affordable. It draws power directly from the computer. It also comes with built in LED lights that can alert your team to the status of an ID.

Because of the small slot, the CR5400 is not capable of reading passports.

The CR5400 is a favorite in nightclubs, secure facilities, and law enforcement offices – any business which needs to authenticate IDs, but sees mostly driver’s licenses is a good fit for this ID scanner.

Additional third party checks – an even greater layer of security

For additional layers of security, IDScan.net’s third party checks and authentication software can be added. Once the ID is scanned, this software gets to work in performing additional authentication checks. These checks can include running the ID against DMV records to ensure they issued the ID.

Third Party Checks are offered by IDScan.net to additionally check for:

  • Identity Validation 
  • Criminal Background 
  • Watch List Check 
  • Sex Offender Check 
  • MK Denial List 
  • Office of Foreign Assets Control Check 
  • Specially Designated Nationals
  • Politically Exposed Persons

Frequently asked questions about best ID scanners for catching fake IDs

What is the absolute best scanner to catch fake IDs?

There are many ID scanners available that will help your business catch fake IDs – it is important to determine what the best scanner is for your business in particular. If you need any help in your decision-making process, don’t hesitate to reach out to hello@idscan.net

Are there any scanners that will catch 100% of fake IDs?

No. Fake IDs are becoming more and more sophisticated. With a combination of UV/IR/white light scanning, and checks against hologram and watermark libraries, we’re reliably able to catch up to 95% of fake IDs. But there are always going to be a few really great fakes that slip through.

Additionally, no fake ID scanner is capable of auto-detecting when someone is fraudulently using a stolen or borrowed ID (ie. an 18-year-old takes his 22-year-old brother’s ID to the bar). For this you will need identity verification that includes face matching.

Do scanners need software to work?

Yes! A scanner alone will not be much help- the software is what reads the information. Our ID scanning and age verification software is VeriScan. When purchased at the correct tier it will take full advantage of all of the physical capabilities of each ID scanner.

Where can I find a scanner for my business?

Check out our store for tons of scanner options for your business. We offer free, same-day shipping and great product warranties. To learn more about fake IDs, download our 2023 Fake ID Report.