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Suppose that Facebook asks me to verify my identity. Is it then legal for me to create a fake digital image of a passport showing my pseudonym as the real name and submit that as if it were an image of a real passport?

1 Answer 1

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Nope.

18 U.S. Code § 1028 - Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information

(a) Whoever, in a circumstance described in subsection (c) of this section—

(1) knowingly and without lawful authority produces an identification document, authentication feature, or a false identification document;

[...]

(c) The circumstance referred to in subsection (a) of this section is that—

(1) the identification document, authentication feature, or false identification document is or appears to be issued by or under the authority of the United States or a sponsoring entity of an event designated as a special event of national significance or the document-making implement is designed or suited for making such an identification document, authentication feature, or false identification document;

So you're 1) producing a false identification document that 2) appears to be issued by the United States.

Whether you'd actually be prosecuted for this is something that I'm not qualified to answer.

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  • 1
    On the other hand, submitting a fake digital ID from East Elbonia looks like it would be just fine.
    – Mark
    Nov 5, 2015 at 8:04
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    @Mark For this particular statue, it seems so. Though, if you submit a forged East Elbonia passport to the United States government, that's also a violation of section 1028.
    – Nick ODell
    Nov 5, 2015 at 8:06
  • It appears that it’s legal to produce a document from Mexico or Canada as well, though you might run foul of their laws. Feb 15, 2023 at 2:11
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    Why are you doing this - some deceptions are a component of a fraud. Fake Canadian ID doesn’t help that. Feb 15, 2023 at 5:24
  • 18 USC 1028 criminalizes the production of false identification documents. It does not criminalize the production of false images of identification documents. Whatever laws might prohibit the creation or submission of a falsified passport image, this law isn't among them.
    – phoog
    Feb 15, 2023 at 7:53

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