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June 30, 2010

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Police probe ID card software

POLICE are investigating Websites offering free downloads of a software program - "ID Card Copies Generator" - which allows them to print out copies of identity cards.

Some Websites have removed posts offering such services, but the software is still accessible via search engines.

Many people are using the software just for fun, generating ID card copies of politicians and celebrities, a Chinese ID card for US President Barack Obama for example.

However, some people have expressed fears that criminals could use fake ID cards to apply for credit cards and withdraw money in their names.

But police said residents needn't panic about the software, as most banks would require the original ID card.

But they also said that there was a management loophole at some banks or facilities who allowed customers to use only a paper copy of their ID card.

"Residents should be careful when choosing bank services, as some small banks aiming at winning more customers wouldn't check your original card," said police spokesman Zhuang Liqiang.

A Shanghai Daily reporter successfully registered at some minor online game Websites with a fake ID card number generated by the software, but at the Website for the popular online game World of Warcraft, the system refused to complete registration as the user name did not correspond to the fake number.

Wang Zhan, a local lawyer, warned that users of the software face fines ranging from 200 yuan (US$29) to 1,000 yuan and 10 days' detention. Developers of the software and people using it for commercial purposes may even face a sentence of three years for forging ID cards.

"If you want to play a joke on your friends or colleagues, think twice for there could be severe consequences," Wang said.

The software surfaced several days ago on the Dongpo Downloading Website and has already attracted about 10,657 downloads.

Users only have to give a name, age and address, and leave everything else to the software, which will generate a random ID card number and fill in all the other information. The software can even automatically add an ID photo and public security bureau seal.


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