Forensic examination of fake tickets reveals increasing sophistication of criminal counterfeiters


The hologram of a ticket issued for the Sochi Winter Olympics undergoes VSC examination

As America gears up for the 51st Super Bowl, a major event in the country’s sporting calendar, fans on the lookout for tickets are being warned not to be conned into buying high quality fakes. As the leading manufacturer of instruments for the forensic examination of documents, Foster+Freeman is ideally placed to separate the genuine from the counterfeit..

Elaborately designed with iconic imagery, intricate laser engravings, and colour-changing holograms; tickets for major sporting events (such as the Super Bowl), music concerts and festivals are at the centre of a multi-million pound boom in illegal counterfeiting. And, as ticket manufacturers begin to incorporate increasingly sophisticated security features into their designs it is becoming much more difficult for the average person to determine a tickets authenticity.

The Foster+Freeman VSC range of instruments are used by airports, immigration controls, banks, lottery companies, and private document examiners to determine the authenticity of the world’s most secure documents, namely passports, travel documents and banknotes.

Initial checks of a suspected counterfeit centre on first-level security features including, print details, holograms, watermarks and similar features. Having established the presence of these overt first-level features, the examiner may begin to subject the document to intense scrutiny.

High magnification examination of a document may reveal differences in print quality and resolution, the use of micro-printing and the presence of security-taggants. Examining a passport, banknote or Super Bowl ticket under a selection of light sources, from UV to IR, may activate covert security features (UV fluorescence and anti-Stokes inks etc.) and reveal additions made to a document using different inks.

Finally, forensic-level examination of a document (multi-spectrometry, Hyper Spectral imaging etc.) can identify minute differences between a document or ticket that’s worth its face value and a document or ticket with less value than the paper it was printed on.


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