Last year, the Marechaussee came across a record number of forgeries of passports and IDs during border controls. The military service reports this on the basis of the annual figures of the expertise center for identity fraud and documents.
At airports and during random checks along the border with Germany and Belgium, the Marechaussee intercepted 1598 forged documents last year. In 2021 there were 1465.
That was already an increase of almost 10 percent compared to 2020 and comparable to the figures before the corona pandemic, even though there were still quite a few travel restrictions in 2021. Last year, the Marechaussee therefore saw a further increase in the number of cases of fraud involving travel, residence and identity documents.
By far the most forged documents were discovered at airports; every traveler leaving or entering the Schengen zone must show their ID. Passports were most often tampered with.
The Marechaussee also often sees people trying to cross the border with someone else’s passport; so-called lookalike imposters. “Passports are becoming more and more secure, so people are trying other ways,” a spokesman for the marchaussee explains about the lookalike fraud. According to him, this ranges from drawing a birthmark on the face to plastic surgery, in order to look more like the one on the passport.
People also sometimes try to cross the border with ‘fantasy documents’ from non-existent organizations or countries. As an example, the spokesperson cites someone’s attempt to enter the Netherlands with a ‘passport’ from Abkhazia, the Caucasus region that is not formally a country.
Most cases involve illegal migration or crime, says the spokesperson. According to him, the current figures do not force the Marechaussee to take additional measures, such as organizing more mobile checks along the border with Germany and Belgium.
This needs to be looked at in the long term, he says. “Because we have often seen that there are peaks and troughs. In addition, we constantly train our people, so they intercept a lot. The figures are just high.”
- Marechaussee again intercepted as many false papers as before corona