The simple truth is that the web hosting industry is the target of, and host (pun intended?) to, a large percentage of individuals who attempt to perpetrate identity theft. This is an unfortunate situation, but sadly people often attempt to purchase web hosting with fraudulent credit cards and other stolen credentials. Generally the motivating factor in using a stolen identity to purchase hosting involve things like warez or other copyrighted materials such as music and movies, or for spamming or phishing purposes; none of which HostGator tolerates on our network.
The efforts of our Pending Department prevent upwards of 6,000 fraudulent sign-ups each month. One of the means used to prevent such sign-ups is a request to provide us with a copy of a government-issued identification card. In that we are a global company with Customers in virtually every non-embargoed nation in the world, we are dealing with countless types of identification cards. Sometimes, they are genuine. Other times, not so much. Below are a few of the more interesting responses we’ve received to our request for the aforementioned identification cards. These images are exactly as we received then, save for the black boxes covering the personal information of those who did not actually intend to sign up for web hosting.
This unfortunate gentleman appears to suffer from some type of carnival funhouse mirror condition… or perhaps an inability to properly use the crop and resize functions of Photoshop. He may, or may not, be named Megan:
Obviously a fake, but what is most concerning is his mouth and nose seem to be fading out of existence. Never mind his height being listed as “7.2”:
What may not be clearly visible in this image is the text under the picture, which says “See How Cute Is The New Addition To Our Family.” Also note “Restrictions: Must Wear Diaper”:
Moving right along, to “Lara” here, who was apparently born in 2009 and has a rather unique height of “19”:
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you “Batman Bin Suparman,” from Singapore:
We’ve also had a few notable individuals attempt to sign up for hosting. You may be familiar with Mr. Brendan Frasier:
Here’s “Connie,” from Delaware, whom vaguely resembles Brad Pitt. I’m not too certain the relevance of including Graduation Celebration instructions on an ID, but I digress:
The lovely and talented Keira Knightley. I was under the impression that she was from the UK, but apparently she’s actually from Florida. Obviously a conscientious individual who cares about her fellow man, being an organ donor and all:
Agent Mulder, surely desiring to create a site involving aliens. The truth is out there, and so forth:
Next up is a two-parter. This individual sent in not only their “ID,” but also a picture of themselves holding the ID, to further prove their identity. So, initially we received this:
Followed shortly thereafter by:
Below is what appears to perhaps be a French ID, aside from the fact that we suspect it may not be official and, in fact, it might even be homemade. Surely the finest colored pencils were used in order to replicate an official document, but with our collective keen eye we determined that this ID raised enough red flags for us to consider it most likely counterfeit:
Our next ID may not be completely homemade, but it’s a close second. If not for the name, age, and gender having clearly been Photoshopped in, our attention may have been brought to the fact that the picture (on the otherwise blurry photograph) is clearly a selfie. While it is possible, in this modern age, that government agencies would accept selfies for their official documents, we have our doubts about this one:
This next person didn’t really try to fool us, they apparently just sent us an image from Discover Card’s own advertising. No points for creativity were awarded for this one, but here it is anyway:
Only slightly more effort went into the following image, which is clearly just a sample identification card image, and features a birthday of 00/00/0000:
We will now enter the celebrity portion of this batch of fake IDs. The following image arrived with an explanation, and we quote: “I could only acquire a photo ID of CIA card with my name Michael Westen.” It is worth noting that the customer’s name was not, in fact, Michael Westen:
We quickly determined that we could also acquire a photo ID of CIA card in the name of Michael Westen, on eBay:
Up next we have Mr. Bradley Cooper, of “The Hangover” fame as well as the famous “Ellen” selfie from the 2014 Oscars. One way or another, he found himself on a “CEO” identification card… but he’s not getting hosting here with this ID, CEO or not:
Rounding out our celebrity portion is the character made famous by Will Ferrel in the movie Talladega Nights, Mr. Ricky Bobby himself!:
For our final image, let’s talk about puns. Puns are something that we generally try to avoid, when given a choice. But this next picture simply makes it unavoidable. This is, bar none, the best ID that we’ve ever been sent… and it’s not even a fake, per se. But if we were giving out prizes for this, then we would award this ID one entire Internet as a prize. As for that pun, well, this ID quite literally takes the cake:
Yes, that is what it looks like; someone baked a cake and used their ID as decoration and then sent us a picture. They didn’t physically send us the cake, unfortunately. For the record, while our Fraud Prevention Department was highly entertained by this, this was not acceptable as a valid form of ID for our purposes, so they did ultimately have to send us a proper scan. Nonetheless, we applaud their creativity!
Given that an ID on a cake is pretty hard to top (did we really just slide another pun into this post?), we will likely be retiring this blog post topic. We’ve had a lot of fun with the posts, and fraudsters beware, we’re as vigilant as ever… but a cake ID, that’s more than we ever hoped for.
As we’ve explained before, if we have reason to believe that an account sign-up may be of a fraudulent nature, we will request that a Government-issued ID be sent in for verification purposes. As was the case with “Heidi,” here:
If, after we receive the aforementioned ID, we then still have reason to believe that everything isn’t on the up-and-up, we will request that the individual then send in a picture of themselves holding their ID. Again, here is “Heidi”:
Following the receipt of this image, we knew that “Heidi” was not legitimate, though I won’t reveal the multiple things that made this abundantly clear. We then sent a reply back informing them of our decision to not host them, and included the following image, which we were able to easily locate via a quick image search:
Up next is Rebecca. She chose to send us an oddly-angled image, though we were quite impressed to see that her license was issued at 2:53pm and has an expiration date of “never.” Aside from her diaper restriction, she is also 19 1/2 feet tall, a “cute driver” and a “love donor”:
Despite having a New Jersey ID, as opposed to a Florida one like Rebecca there, Brian seems to have gotten the same deal on a never-expiring driver’s license. Though Brian seems to have an extra feature: Full Time Baby Status, which is pretty legit. He also lives on Baby Drive Street, also clearly legit. The best part is that Brian’s signature consists entirely of little handprints:
This next ID is interesting and unique in that it simply doesn’t contain a picture at all, simply a blue box where the picture should be. There’s various other things we could point out, like the new text in the fancy font clearly placed over the blurred out background… if not for our keen eye catching the blue rectangle though, this “Danmark” ID card might’ve slipped past us:
Our celebrity portion begins with the “Driver’s International License” of one of the more well-known movie stars of yesteryear, Mr. Steve McQueen. As shown by our past fake ID blog posts, celebrities will stop at nothing to acquire web hosting, even returning from beyond the grave:
Well, I’m not too sure what to say about Jude Law here. I’ll be honest, when this ID was sent to me, I didn’t realize this was a celebrity. Admittedly, it was a female colleague who revealed to me that this was, in fact, an actor named Jude Law. You now have full disclosure on this particular ID. However, Jude if you want web hosting from Hostgator, we’re going to need to see a legitimate ID, sir:
The curious thing about our next passport is not necessarily that this gentleman is named Susan, but rather he is named both Susan and Tyrone. United States passports clearly show your name in two different places; to the right of the picture and below it. So, he’s Susan on the right and Tyrone underneath:
Traveling can be stressful. Valuable is the friend with whom you are able to embark on long journeys. In light of that, I’d very much like to take a trip with Mr. Happy Traveler:
Here we have a two-fer. This person may, or may not, be named either Caroline or Chris. Additionally, they may or may not be a resident of either New York or Minnesota. Either way, they won’t be hosting with us:
What is the most appropriate way to follow up a two-fer? Well, with a three-fer, of course! Here we have three separate instances that all used the same fake ID, with the same pictures that appears to have been taken from perhaps someone’s old MySpace page:
We begin the celebrity portion of our program here with Paula, who looks eerily like Trey Parker of South Park fame:
Absolutely no idea why Justin Timberlake has the words “Baby 4 Ever” emblazoned across his Pennsylvania ID, though it is suspected that it is in some way related to his continuing mission of, in fact, bringing sexy back:
So… many… jokes… for… this… ID! I just can’t choose the best way to express the total lack of tiger-blood-infused non-winning:
As always, we save the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you… the one, the only… the King himself, Mr. Elvis Presley! He’s alive, and he wants to host with HostGator!:
And Elvis has now left the building!
All of the above were clearly failed attempts to Jedi Mind-Trick us. Fortunately, The Force is strong within The Gator!
In the meantime, feel safe in the thought that we remain vigilant in our mission to prevent fraudulent sign ups. HostGator: keeping the internet safe from fraud since 2002!