frauds foiled | 

Number of suspected passport fraud cases drops as technology catches up

'It's almost impossible to counterfeit a passport by making a completely fake passport'

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Neil Fetherstonhaugh

There were a total of 849 cases of suspected passport fraud last year, new figures have revealed.

Even though new technology has made it almost impossible to create a completely fake passport, the Passport Office investigated over 3,500 cases of suspected passport fraud in the space of three years.

According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk, there were 1,644 in 2019, 1,033 in 2020, and 849 last year.

Some 119 of these cases were referred on to the gardaí for further investigation - including 32 last year.

Barrister Morgan Shelley said that advances in technology has made it more difficult for fraudsters in recent years.

"Because the technology that's used to make modern Irish and European passports is so advanced, it's almost impossible to counterfeit a passport by making a completely fake passport.

"It's also very difficult to forge a passport by altering a genuine passport.

"Fraudsters are much more likely to use counterfeit photocopies of a passport - where they alter a photocopy when they're, say, opening a bank account or engaging in money laundering".

While 77 passports were cancelled due to fraud in 2019, with 22 in 2020 and 31 last year.

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