How to Tell if an FBI ID Card Is Real

Determining the validity of an FBI card is no easy task.
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It is the responsibility of law enforcement officials at every level to present credentials and prove their identity as agents. Still, civilians and citizens should have some idea of how real FBI credentials look. To fully understand how to identify an FBI agent correctly, you'll want to know what an FBI identification card looks like, where you can find the FBI badge number and more.


What Does a Federal ID Look Like for the FBI?

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations are required to carry an FBI ID badge with them at all times while on the job, excluding undercover work. Sometimes, Hollywood is wildly inaccurate in its portrayal of law enforcement, but they aren't too far off when it comes to FBI IDs. Real FBI credentials consist of two parts: the badge and the ID card. Most agents house them together with the badge on one side and the card on the other. The experts at the FBI provide an image of the badge, and it's pretty generic: it is gold metallic with the FBI's emblem embossed on it, and it is relatively small, more so than many people expect.


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As you may imagine, this badge is easy to fake for all but a trained eye, so it's essential also to evaluate the FBI special agent ID card. This ID card is a simple, small document that includes an agent's full name, identification number and a color photo of their face. If an FBI agent ever approaches you, always ask to see their credentials. Write down their name and identification number, and if you need to check their identity, you'll want to follow up.


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What Is an FBI Identification Number?

The FBI ID number is a series of numbers and letters unique to each agent. It is on the FBI identification card, and most agents can recite theirs from memory. It can be helpful to think of this number like a Social Security number since it follows the agent throughout their career with the FBI and is included in all official documentation pertaining to or involving them. If you want to verify the identity of an FBI agent, the best way to do it is by using their ID number.


It's essential to remember that the terms FBI identification number and FBI ID number don't just refer to agents. Many civilians who come into contact with the FBI will also have one. According to the regulators at the Department of Justice, the FBI gives anyone they arrest and civil employees an ID number. The terms are used interchangeably, so be aware of that distinction if you do further reading or research on this topic.


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Contact the FBI to Check Credentials

As you can see from these descriptions, FBI badges and IDs are relatively simple, making them easy to forge. You should be skeptical and on alert for fraudulent identification. If you're unsure about the credentials of an FBI agent, even after you've seen their badge and ID, write down their name and FBI badge number. In general, if you're speaking with an actual FBI agent, they should be more than willing to hand over this information.


Then, you will want to call the appropriate agency for the situation. In most cases, you can simply call the experts at your local FBI field office. They can help you confirm the identity of the agent in question and verify that they are supposed to be at your home, workplace or other location. If you feel threatened, you can ask for legal representation during questioning. At that point, an actual FBI agent is required to back off and consent by obtaining a lawyer for you. If at any point you feel unsafe, you should call 911.

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