“Most kids I know have fakes” is a regular statement among many college kids.
Some fake IDs are altered by their owners, with date-of-birth numbers or photos changed. Some IDs are expired and handed off to friends or younger siblings. Trained employees can spot these IDs – a mismatched photo or an expiration. And while ‘old school’ fake IDs are still used, there’s a new class of fakes that are far more sophisticated.
New generation fake IDs are using high tech scanning and reproduction techniques to look pretty much exactly like a state driver license – even down to the scannable bar code on the back – and can pass inspection of even the most seasoned employee. We are often asked if a sale is made and the underage buyer uses a fake ID, “am I the one responsible?” and generally the answer is no. If an employee is presented with a legitimate looking ID that passes examination with the correct matching photo and date-of-birth and it’s not expired, the employee did their level best to verify the customer’s age. Clearly, catching these fake IDs in use can be a challenge.
New fake ID’s involve illicit ID providers hired via the internet and are shipped in non-descript packages sometimes containing other goods. They can be ordered in bulk across a group of kids. The buyer provides a picture and specific details and the seller creates the fake and ships it. Often times, the fake ID buyer will pick a state and an address that has no connection to their own.
Some folks have ask us if they suspect that an ID is fake, do they have to make the sale. Our answer is that a retailer is under no obligation to sell to someone they suspect is underage. If the employee believes the ID to be fake, the sale can be denied.
Law enforcement at the federal and state law are working on ways to tackle the sophisticated fake ID problem. (See the REAL ID Act) The most important step is to ensure your employees are trained and prepared for the challenges associated with examining and scanning IDs and refusing sales that are underage fake ID or not.
We Card’s Hold, Sweep, Flip training involves some simple steps to ensure the retail employee has taken the correct steps to examine an ID. First and foremost, does the photo on the ID presented match the purchaser? Is the ID expired? Has it been altered? For more details or training, drop by wecard.org.