Back in March, we featured a story about how to spot a genuine LTO-issued driver’s license versus a fake one made by fixers and scammers. In that story, we focused on some simple ways to find out if your driver's license (DL) is fake.

Some of the most common are shining your mobile phone’s flashlight from behind, looking for the hologram, and finding the security strip.


In the video above, however, it seems even tricks like the mobile phone light color, hologram, and security strip can be faked. Looks like forgers of fake DLs are getting more creative in producing licenses that mimic the real thing.

Traffic vlogger, Gadget Addict (GA), who’s been known to frequently cover MMDA operations, shares a few more tricks on how to spot the not. He also shares a surefire, easy way to find out if your license is real.

Light and UV tests

One of the easiest ways to spot a fake used to be the flashlight test. Real licenses turn the light shined from behind purple. Unfortunately, makers of fake LTO driver’s licenses were also able to procure materials that could produce the effect similar to a genuine DL.

For example, in the video, GA shows two kinds of fake licenses. When a light is shined behind the card, one shows a yellow light , but another one shows a purple light, just like the orginal.

Another test invloves the use of an ultraviolet (UV) light. If you happen to have one around, shine it on the license and this will highlight a hologram of a Philippine eagle on the card.

Cheap fakes won't show this hologram, but newer, more sophisticated fake licenses do. 

Embossed details

Some details that are printed on the DL card are actually embossed, meaning that the print is higher than the card itself. You may not be able to see it, but if you run your fingers over the letters, you can feel it.

As GA demonstrated, a genuine DL will have a positive-embossed-characters on the Expiration Date. On the back of the card, the words of the list  of Restrictions and Conditions are also positive-embossed. Finally, on a genuine DL, the signature of the LTO chief is also positively embossed.

Fake DLs, on the other hand, have negatively-embossed characters – meaning they are CUT INTO the card, rather than PRINTED ON. This means someone tried to manually etch the characters by using a sharp object or the like create a similar feeling to a genuine one but not exactly the same.

Karma is digital

Watch: vlogger shows how to spot a fake LTO license image

Ok, let’s say that the fixer that supplied your fake LTO DL is really, really good. So good that even the law enforcement officers (LEO) are unable to physically determine if your DL is genuine or not. If that’s the case, all the LEO needs to do is go to the LTO’s online portal to check if your DL’s number is in the system. This website requires you to enter your DL's serial number, along with the receipt number. Both numbers have to match what's in LTO's record. 

Another measure system that the LEOs can use is the LTO text service, 2600. To check, the LEO will simply type LTO LICENSE [driver’s license number] and send it to 2600. LTO will promptly reply with the validity and any current offenses. If it’s fake, it won’t be on the system.

Finally, LEOs have direct access to the LTO's database. Verifying a DL is just one phone call away, like what happened in this video where EDSA boss, Col. Bong Nebrija and his team, was able to catch an erring motorist red-handed with his fake DL.

If the DL has a legitimate number, it should appear in the system, right? However, you should also have a valid receipt with your legitimate license. The LTO database checks both numbers and makes sure they match what's in LTO's record. If they do not match, chances are those numbers are made up, or have been copied from a legitimate one, and your license, therefore, is fake.

You can’t really fool the system. Instead of going through the shortcut, which costs thousands of pesos, go through the correct process. After all, if caught using a fake DL, the penalty and downtime costs will be a lot higher than just going through the legitimate process.