Passport fraud 'a global threat'

2010-01-29 13:35

Davos - The biggest threat facing the world now, according to the chief of international police agency Interpol, is passport fraud - the millions of stolen documents that could be used by terrorists or criminals to travel worldwide.

It's not an obvious danger but one that came to the public eye after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a US-bound airliner.

Airport body scanners, embraced by many in the aftermath of that attempt, are a misguided solution, Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K Noble told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday night.

"The greatest threat in the world is that last year there were 500 million, half a billion, international air arrivals worldwide where travel documents were not compared against Interpol databases," he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in this Swiss ski resort, where 2 500 business and political leaders are gathered all week.

"Right now in our database we have over 11 million stolen or lost passports," he said. "These passports are being used, fraudulently altered and are being given to terrorists, war criminals, drug traffickers, human traffickers."

The solution, he said, is better intelligence, and better intelligence sharing, among countries.

"You don't know the motivation behind the person carrying the passport," he said. If you're a terrorist, he said, "Are you going to carry explosives that are going to be detected? No."

Many US airports use the body-scanning machines and airports in other countries are adopting them after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on December 25 on the Detroit-bound flight.

Doubts over no-fly lists

Noble questioned "the amount of money and resources that go into these (body-scanning) machines".

He cited a case two weeks ago in a Caribbean country where five people were arrested carrying European passports, but were caught after they were found to be carrying stolen passports - one stolen back in 2001. The five were found to have "definite links to crime, organised crime, human trafficking but no definite links to terrorism", he said, though he wouldn't name the country.

He said US authorities are recognising the threat of passport fraud - in 2006 US authorities scanned the Interpol database about 2 000 times, while last year they did so 78 million times. They came up with 4 000 people travelling on stolen or lost passports.

Intelligence experts have cast doubt on the usefulness of the so-called no-fly lists of suspects shared among airports worldwide, saying that criminals can change their names or make simple name spelling changes that render them untrackable.

Noble agreed that the lists "are useful but I don't believe they are the be-all and end-all". He said he's concerned about governments' efforts to expand them.

Noble, who has expanded Interpol's efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime, corruption and maritime piracy in his nearly 10 years at the helm of France-based Interpol, also had words of warning for people hoping to donate money to Haiti after its devastating earthquake.

"Be very careful," he said, citing several cases of fraudsters preying on donors' generosity and stealing their money via fake charity websites.


- SAPA
Read more on:    interpol
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Canada PM hid in a closet

2014-10-24 17:26
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.