Profiling, checking passport, checking id, holding passport, id verification

Challenges in ID Checking: Is Your Frontline Staff Prepared?

In the realm of identity verification, the importance of accurate face matching cannot be overstated. A study published in PLOS ONE reveals a surprising outcome: staff responsible for issuing passports exhibit a similar proficiency to the average person in identifying fake passport photos. The study further uncovers that there are significant variations in the abilities of individual passport officers, as one could be significantly better than others in spotting impostors. 

The Challenge 

Passport officers, tasked with determining whether posed ID holders match the passport photo they present, displayed a concerning 14% error rate in accepting non-matching “fraudulent” cards. This accuracy level is comparable to that of untrained individuals. In an earlier study, untrained supermarket staff falsely accepted more than 50% of invalid photo ID cards. Many experiments have shown high error rates in these tasks, even under optimal conditions where images are taken on the same day, in a neutral pose, and under very similar lighting. This raised security concerns, particularly in contexts like airport security, access management, and in many other industries like finance or law.  

The Scale of The Issue

Schiphol is the 4th busiest airport in Europe, with 52,472,188 passengers throughout 2022. Given the scale of Schiphol Airport, where millions of passengers pass through annually, a 14% error rate would introduce a notable risk of permitting travelers carrying fraudulent passports to enter the system. 

Challenge Yourself: To experience this task for yourself, try to decide whether the pairs of images above are of the same or different people (answers at the bottom of the article). 

profiling lookalikes id verification passport id card

Source: White, 2014

Exploring the Solutions 

Acknowledging the limitations of human eyesight, the study explores alternative solutions. One option involves hiring passport officers based on their ability to match faces. Face-matching tests used during recruiting and the selection of professionals have shown positive outcomes. 

Aside from that, evidence-based training methods and the redesign of photo ID formats are also additional solutions. 

“Organisations that deploy well-trained personnel can significantly reduce the number of identity fraud cases. “ – Keesing Document Expert  

ID Academy  

The Keesing ID Academy provided the tools to overcome these challenges with confidence. Founded in 2014, the Keesing ID Academy harnesses nearly a century of practical experience. This comprehensive training program is designed to equip participants with a profound understanding of ID document verification.  

These workshops go beyond basic theory, providing hands-on training that focuses on everyday situations and empowers participants to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios. The Keesing ID Workshop covers essential topics such as the use of inspection tools like Doculus Lumus®, investigation of ID documents and security features, detection of counterfeit and forged documents, as well as profiling and verification techniques, the program ensures that participants are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of identity verification with confidence. It is available at different levels, tailoring education to participants’ knowledge base. The skills learned during the workshop will also enable participants to establish – in a customer-friendly manner – whether the person presenting the document is its legal holder. All participants receive an abridged reference manual and a certificate of participation.  

The workshops are given by the certified document experts of the ID Academy, who are experts in the investigation of document fraud and have been offering workshops all over the globe.   

Moreover, Keesing offers E-Learning, a straightforward, modular online learning for ID document verification and profiling based on an easy-to-follow, “look, feel and tilt” inspection method. Participants will learn the basics of verifying an ID document and gain knowledge about the security features. Designed to maximize trainee engagement, participants will receive a certificate upon completion. Furthermore, E-Learning is developed in-house by our own experienced document experts. 

About Keesing Technologies

In addressing the issue of accuracy in identity verification, Keesing Technologies has pioneered identity verification solutions for over 100+ years and has been serving 6,000+ organisations from various industries. 

Keesing Technologies offers cutting-edge ID verification that allows you to establish an individual’s true identity from anywhere in the world and protect your business from fraud. Our unique technologies build on our long-standing expertise, extensive ID knowledge, and the world’s most comprehensive ID document database. In short, we offer identity verification you can trust. 

Challenge Answers:  

(1) same, (2) different, (3) same, and (4) same.


White D, Kemp RI, Jenkins R, Matheson M, Burton AM (2014) Passport Officers’ Errors in Face Matching. PLOS ONE 9(8): e103510.