An identification system for identifying persons, articles, documents and the like using a coded hologram which contains the desired identifying indicia in coded holographic form. Encoding of the identifying indicia in the hologram is accomplished by means of a beam scrambler which introduces random path distances in either the reference or object beam during the formation of the hologram. The same or identical beam scrambler is used during reconstruction of the hologram to decode the identifying indicia. The identification system can be used for credit cards and personal access ID cards. Typical identifying inidica includes the user's name, signature, and photograph.