To foil counterfeiters, Pa. adds hologram to driver’s licenses

    Beginning this week, Pennsylvania driver’s licenses will feature a new one-of-a-kind security hologram.

    PennDOT officials say Pennsylvania is the first state in the country to soup up its license with a black-and-white hologram.

    The new cards are meant to combat the proliferation of fake IDs.

    State Police Cpl. Rick Goodling of the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement said Monday the new hologram is just the latest burst in a constant technology race between law enforcement and counterfeiters.

    “The hologram is already being mastered, let’s put it that way. The problem is, they’re not being mastered correctly,” Goodling said. “I guess they don’t have the technology to image exactly what PennDOT is imaging for the hologram.”

    The two-tone hologram is easily visible in near-darkness, so people checking IDs in restaurants, clubs, and bars will be able to see the mark.

    Jan McKnight, a PennDOT spokeswoman, says the new licenses are unique and easy to spot.

    “It’s so great because it’s available – it’s visible in low-light situations and it’s unique in that it actually suppresses color. Now this is a hologram without color,” McKnight. “And when you rotate the card 90 degrees, the image itself changes from black to white and white to black.”

    Goodling says Pennsylvania IDs are being targeted by one counterfeiter in particular from China, which sells its products online.

    He says counterfeiters by and large haven’t been able to replicate one security measure on Pennsylvania licenses–a magnetic strip containing information about the license holder.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.