Fake IDs are still prevalent in college
Students are still risking it
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 15:10
Desperate times call for desperate measures as an underage college student – especially when looking for alcohol.
Aside from the students themselves, no one knows this better than the employees of popular bars across town.
Tom Ford, political science junior and bartender at The Palms, is one such employee. During his stint as both a bouncer and bartender, Ford has seen a myriad of students with fake IDs try to walk through the doors of the 21 and up establishment.
“At least 20 or so people a night come up to our door guys and give them IDs that are under 21, sometimes under 18, and act shocked when they can’t get in,” Ford said.
If you walk into any given bar within a mile of the University, you’re bound to be surrounded by a number of fellow students carrying fake identification.
According to Chelsea Severio, psychology junior and bartender at Jax Brewery Bistro Bar, fake IDs come in a variety of mediums. The two most prominent forms of fake identification, she says, are either legitimate IDs that don’t belong to the carrier or IDs that are entirely fabricated.
Like most bar employees, both Severio and Ford have been trained to identify the real IDs from the fakes.
“There are certain characteristics such as the lamination peeling off the corners, more of a rounded corner cut out instead of a sharp right angle, and usually the easiest way to tell is that the holograms will look fake – they will be way too bright and look pretty crappy. But if we really can’t tell, we have a book behind the bar that has a picture of all the IDs produced by every state in the country. This allows us to double check that the ID is actually real,” Ford said.
When the ID is real, however, it can get a little tricky trying to decide if the person on the card is the person handing it to you, according to Severio.
“I do give people credit because one haircut or color can change the way a person looks, so I look at the facial features. I usually look at the weight and height — if a girl comes to the bar weighing about 100 lbs on her ID when in person she weighs 200 lbs, then there is obviously a problem,” said Severio.
“It’s good to ask questions to verify whether or not it’s their own ID. Some good questions to ask are what their horoscope is or what the capitol of the state their ID is from is, as well as the standard birthday, address, zip code, etc.,” Ford said.
Despite how common fake IDs have become among college students, the same risk is still present. Punishments for using a fake ID can be as low as a $500 misdemeanor to be considered criminal impersonation or forgery – both of which are felonies. Altering or changing an officially issued document like a driver’s license is also a felony, with punishments varying from state to state.
Apparently that’s a risk that college students are willing to take if it means getting to buy drinks or simply enter a bar.
According to Severio and Ford, bartenders see their fair share of horrendous fake IDs on a regular basis.
“The most outrageous fake I have ever seen was probably a girl who gave me her mom’s ID. The girl must have still been in high school and the ID was over 50 years old. It was pretty ridiculous. I have also seen boys try and use girls’ IDs, people have handed me credit cards as IDs, drawings on pieces of paper, pretty much anything you could think of,” Ford said.
Shannon Donaldson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org