Article: Fake IDs

Sometimes teens consider getting a fake ID if they want to buy alcohol or go to a bar. About 12.5 percent of pre-college students and 32.2 percent of college students have admitted to possessing a fake ID; in 2020, there were 14,000 fake IDs seized in the city of Cincinnati alone.

Today, fake IDs are ingrained in the American youth experience, but it wasn’t always this way. The quick rise of fake IDs came when the drinking age was raised to 21. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 forced states to enforce the new age restriction or risk losing 10 percent of their highway funding. This led to more arrests and a more hardline stance on fake IDs.

For many parents, fake IDs are an awkward issue to discuss. How do you convince a teenager of the perils of having a fake ID and of underage drinking without feeling like a bit of a hypocrite? Perhaps you remember your own glory days as a 19-year-old, pounding shots at your local dive bar.

In this chapter, we’ll explore the consequences for teens of getting caught with a fake ID. I’ll give you some unhypocritical advice you can impart to help them stay out of serious trouble. Let’s start with a few facts.

The majority of kids in the U.S. will drink before they turn 21. Translation: There is a good chance your kids will drink before they are 21.

If your kid drinks, she will most likely use a fake ID.

In all likelihood, your teen will not get caught using a fake ID.

When I was in college, I used a fake ID. Back then, New York State licenses were simple slips of paper on which, with a bit of creative penmanship, it was possible to convert a 1969 to a 1964. Like that, I went from 17 to 22. When the state switched to licenses with pictures, a similar-looking 21-year-old friend gave me his license. Simple as that, I was good to go.

But that was in the ’80s and ’90s. Since then, things are a little different.

Over the past two decades, New York State has seen a rising number of fake IDs confiscated and underage drinkers arrested. This trend can be attributed to a few factors:

  • Stricter laws to deter underage drinking. New York’s DMV now runs a program called “Operation Prevent,” which sends police officers to venues, concerts, and events to target underage drinking. This is primarily a political move for publicity, but similar initiatives are appearing in other states as well.
  • A larger supply of fake IDs. Easier access = More fake IDs = More arrests. Nowadays, kids can order fake IDs online for as little as $50 each. Watch out for popular websites such as IDGod and foreign distributors. Out of the 14,000 IDs confiscated from Cincinnati in 2020, 97 percent of those were shipped from either Hong Kong or China.
  • Better technology to detect fraudulence. With current technology, telling a real ID from a fake is as simple as downloading an app like Age ID, Scanner, or Vemos. No need for vigilant bouncers to shuffle through “the book” of state IDs any longer.

Fake IDs

Keeping Our Kids Safe and Out of Trouble

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