Do US Visa Documents Have A Typo?
from the time-to-change-the-fraud-prevention dept
Our friends over at the always excellent Notcot were recently playing around with a microscope and noticed what certainly appears to be a typo on the US visa and border crossing card. The back of the card has very tiny etchings of every US president and every state flag — but the etching of 6th US president John Quincy Adams appears to have a typo, calling him John Quincy Adames with an “e” added into the last name. Take a look:
The other explanation makes a lot more sense. It’s that this is a form of fraud/counterfeiting detection. Similar to how dictionaries would sometimes insert a fake word or phone books would insert fake people/numbers to try to “catch” if anyone was copying their work, perhaps the US government added the extra “e” on the assumption that counterfeiters would actually spell JQA’s name correctly — thus giving them a way to spot a fake. Of course, that’s a pretty weak form of anti-counterfeiting, but in combination with some other techniques, perhaps it’s useful. Either way, it’s an amusing bit of trivia…
Filed Under: greencards, john quincy adames, john quincy adams, typo, us government, visa
Comments on “Do US Visa Documents Have A Typo?”
Occam's Razor says otherwise....
The most likely reason is….
Government Employee Incompetence.
Re: Occam's Razor says otherwise....
Like cats, the government will always address mistakes with that “I meant to do that” look. Only without the cute.
oh, mike, you make me laugh!
Re: You stole my name...
I feel violated – where do I send the cease and desist?
Re: Re: You stole my name...
“i meant to do that” look. only with the cute.
Could also be a result of the US outsourcing the creation of certain visa and passport documents in 2007-2008 (not sure if it’s still the case). Outsourced passports netting govt. profits, risking national security.
For sure. Americans make no mistakes. If it’s wrong, certainly it was done by someone else.
Re: Re: Re:
… or the Government, of course.
Give them a break!
Oh Mike, give them a break. The design of the Visa documents were probably outsourced. Besides, you’re in on the ground floor, Mike. These documents will be valuable by Chinese Collectors in 50 years when the US ceases to exist as a nation. Lack of pride in gooder spellings and grammars increases collectability. If you need examples, look at the what error notes are going for.
The US did this to military IDs in WWII. The nazis forged them but always used the correct spelling thus being caught.
maybe even if it is ineffective, it is an inside joke for anti-counterfeiting types.
I’m amazed you gave any time whatsoever to the “JQA renamed himself” comment. Why bother?
sometimes its not worth paying the lowest bidding contractor do to the work.
Texas Drivers Licenses
The drivers licenses in Texas have the word “Directive” printed on the back. The first ‘i’ in directive is not dotted thus giving an added method of fraud detection. Sounds like they did something similar here.
He invented everything.
Benjamin Franklin deliberately misspelled “Philadelphia” on some of the first American banknotes, specifically to trip up counterfeiters, and the sources I’ve read suggest that the idea was original with him (not too surprising for a genius, a printer and a rather irreverent man). But I’d be surprised if that trick would trip up anyone with the means to make microengravings at all.
Another possible reason...
The visa form examined IS counterfeit.
anyone else have a border crossing/green card and microscope?
after discovering adames while playing with the microscope, i’m more curious what is on the others, or newer versions… let’s figure out if this is a consistent typo? or if someone else’s name is a typo on others? 🙂
we’re all speculating about this, but there must be SO many more out there we can look at!
On the “anti-counterfeiting” side, Texas drivers licenses have things like that. A bit more discreet, like i’s missing dots, or similar letters swapped. I still argue that a counterfeiter wouldn’t go about fixing the mistakes he finds, but rather try to make an exact copy.
I have a patent on micro-etchings of US Presidents and a copyright on spelling Adams with an ‘e’. Expect the lawsuits…
This is techdirt news?
According to this article, Greek passports do the same thing.
The Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) has similar features on the back with the presidents, I’ll have to look under a microscope and see if the president’s name are spelled correctly or not.
It’s possible different serial number sequences have different typos – though it doesn’t make much sense why a typo ought be used when a different picture or other graphic detail coud be less obviously changed to ensure not only would a counterfitter have to copy imagery they’d have to know secret algorithms to match images to data.
Much like currency matches secret hashes of numbers to details like dates of issue.
If the ‘anti-counterfeiting’ reason is true, then you’ve just wrecked it as the counterfeiters now know about the error, and can adjust their versions appropriately. And you’ve taught them to look out for such tricks if they hadn’t spotted one before!
Nice one, Mike 😉
This is a standard anti-counterfeiting trick. Example: If you still have an old-style Visa credit card, take a look at the repeated word VISA in the micro-printing around the large Visa logo. There are two or three places where it’s spelled VAIS (as I recall, there’s one about three or four from the left in the third row). This was deliberate – I used to work for Visa, and there are other secrets about card design that I’m not going to divulge – the only reason I mention this one is because that design is now defunct. But, believe me, this is a routine form of fighting counterfeits.
USA Visa Typo
It’s not a typo. I worked for the Feds for many years. We could detect if a Social Security card was fraudulent if the columns on the card exactly met at the top. Real cards had a gap on the top right. The same with alien resident cards; the word “immigration” on the back of the card had several “i’s” missing the dot on top. If a card had all the i’s dotted, it was a fraud.
Good one, now you blew the planned fraud detection and everyone will be making fake cards with Adames on it!