Fake IDs easy to obtain, hard to pass

By Dave Gomez

Would-be underage drinkers using fake identification may find their attempts aren’t fooling anyone.

A myriad of Internet sites have made obtaining fake IDs easier than ever.

One San Diego-based Web site, adorned with animations of smoking guns and grinning skulls, promises subscribers access to hundreds of driver’s licenses as well as templates.

In other cases, the materials needed to produce real IDs are stolen to produce fakes, said DeKalb Police Lt. Jim Kayes. Alternative methods include photographing a driver’s license, creating a computer reproduction and laminating the finished product.

But even if fake IDs are easily obtained, owners may be disappointed after putting them to the test.

“Any bar worth its salt is going to realize it’s bogus and is not going to accept it,” Kayes said.

Newer licenses are solid plastic and more difficult to replicate, he said.

An ID checker with a sharp eye can pick up on modified IDs since the license number is derived from the date of birth using a certain formula, Kayes said.

Other bars have systems that record IDs along with the user’s faces.

Although bar owners have a vested interest in keeping fake ID users out of their establishments due to possible liquor ordinance violations, employees can sometimes be more lenient when it comes to letting in underage students and friends.

“It’s a system that’s pretty ripe for exploitation,” Kayes said.

Most people caught using fake IDs hand them over, said Mike Cortese, store manager for American Liquors, 159 W. Lincoln Highway.

The store usually sees about one fake ID about a month, he said.

“People aren’t dumb enough to try them,” Cortese said.

Using a fake ID can result in a one-year driver’s license suspension on the first offense and a revocation on the second.

Those who take the risk usually use authentic driver’s licenses with photos of people that closely resemble them.

“If they were made, they [are] easier to spot because they don’t have the security features.”

If the license looks suspicious, employees will then ask them specific details about their ID, such as their license or Social Security numbers, Cortese said.

The quiz can catch some potential customers off-guard.

“You’d be surprised at how many people forget their address,” said Matt Lundeen, an employee at Lundeen’s Discount Liquors, 1030 Arcadia Drive.

Employees of liquor establishments are required to undergo training on fake IDs, Kayes said.

One program available is the Operation Straight ID program, funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation since 1994. It trains owners and employees of businesses that sell alcohol beverages on how to spot fake IDs and report them.

Penalties for trying to use a fake ID, or someone else’s ID

– Offenders face a possible one-year license suspension for both the user and the actual license owner for the first offense.

– Manufactured IDs can also result in a license suspension.

– A second offense can result in a revocation of the license.

– If a person is caught entering and remaining in a bar with a fake ID or someone else’s ID, it is a city ordinance violation and can result in a fine.

Source: DeKalb Police