Mobile ID Validation

The Many Layers of ID Validation

How Our Technology Puts IDs Through Various Tests

Read Time: 4 Min

When IDScan.net—or any other provider of ID scanning technology—talks about our technology, we make mention of “catching fake IDs,” and “making sure the ID is real,” and then we use words such as validation and authentication. But what exactly does all of this mean?

The truth is, there is no single answer to the question, “How do you make sure an ID is real?” There are varying levels of validation and several layers of testing through which we can put an ID. These include confirming the ID format, checking for security features, and running third party tests.

We take pride in developing technology that enhances environments and experiences, and in creating products that can be configured for each situation. The following levels of ID validation can each be used by itself or in tandem with others.

Baseline Validation

All of our ID scanning technology starts with best-in-the-business library ID formats. This library tells us order and placement of the fields for each state, and we constantly update it with new formats. The data on most North American IDs is stored in the 2D bar code on the back of an ID, and any time we scan that bar code, we are comparing it to our ID library. The process of ensuring the proper formatting of an ID describes our baseline validation. We do this by comparing the format of the  ID you’re scanning to the corresponding ID in our library.

First, if the bar code is not readable, the ID is most likely fake. When the bar code is readable, we check to make sure the data is formatted the same way as that state’s. For example, if a state’s driver’s license has a separate data field for middle initial, but the ID you’re scanning does not, then it has failed our baseline validation test. The same process applies to passports, which store the data in the machine readable zone (MRZ).

Front-Back Match

As noted above, the data on an ID is stored in a 2D bar code or MRZ. With optical character recognition (ORC) technology, we can scan the text displayed an ID to confirm it matches the data stored in the bar code. This front-back match typically works in conjunction with the baseline validation, adding another layer of validation. While the industry is trending away from OCR technology for desktop scanning, it has proven particularly useful for validating IDs using the camera on mobile devices.

Authentication

At IDScan.net, we have found our clients who operate secure venues frequently utilize our authentication solution, as do clients making financial or credit decisions. Authentication is defined by using software and hardware to check and confirm an ID. Driver’s licenses and passports are equipped with security features—microprint and holograms among them—that react to infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) light. Our authentication technology checks for the placement and presence of these security features and compares them to the features built into the ID from that issuing body. Again, the information about which security features are contained on which IDs is stored in our ID library.

It is important to note that only certain ID scanning hardware is capable of performing the authentication checks. The Gemalto CR5400 is an example of a scanner that authenticates drivers’ licenses, and the Gemalto AT9000 is an all-in-one ID and passport scanner that performs authentication.

Third-Party Checks

Our ID scanning technology can connect to third-party databases to either learn something about the person—including their criminal or credit history—or to add another layer of ID validation. This article focuses on the ID validation checks, which include USPS address checks and DMV Data Verification Services. In both of these instances, we compare the information on the ID to these third-party databases. With the USPS address check, we confirm that the address on the ID is a true physical address. The DMV Data Verification Services queries DMVs from 32 states to confirm that the ID was issued to the named individual.

We understand that this is a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming. Contact us with any questions and know that we are committed to helping each client find the right level of ID validation that meets your needs and your budget.