Junior Grant Davis has first-hand experience with making and using fake IDs.
“They were terrible. They even had bubbles, but I went to Thirsty’s all the time,” said Davis, a graphic design major. “I tried to use it at Supermarket Liquors on Mulberry and he bent it, told me it was the worst ID he had ever seen and told me to get out.”
As a minor, he and a roommate laminated fake IDs they made using Adobe Photoshop and the two used them for two weeks before being caught.
Each week bartenders and doormen collect fake IDs that are easy to detect because of several basic flaws.
Jason Morgan, doorman and the general manager at The Vault, 146 N. College Ave, said that it is easy to tell if an ID is legitimate. Because fake IDs are glued together in pieces, the layers spread when it is flexed instead of bending in one full piece.
The ID is laminated in multiple layers, causing the state seal to not reflect. It does not reflect because it is trapped underneath the laminate rather than on top as in legitimate IDs.
“Ninety percent of the time the picture on the ID is not even them,” Morgan said.
A bartender at Old Chicago’s, Eric Melander, said he is only trained to check the date, hologram and if the ID is expired. If the bartenders are suspicious, they are told to check a book that the Department of Motor Vehicles has provided to all alcohol-selling businesses. The book contains pictures and descriptions of valid licenses from each state in the United States.
Melander said people take false information to the DMV and have a real ID made, making it virtually impossible to tell if it is a fake. Even when scanned by police, the card appears legitimate.
“Some of the California IDs are really good,” Melander said.
Mary Beth Houlahan, a bartender at Lucky Joe’s, 25 Old Town Square, said the business’s staff collects between 10 and 20 fakes a week while school is in session.
“The IDs are definitely getting better,” she said. “They all go home and get (fake) IDs over summer.”
Houlahan said that the “buzz” is that Lucky Joe’s is one of the hardest places to get into with a fake ID because of their experienced doormen. Lucky Joe’s confiscates and sends them to the police department.
Iman Shuweihat, an employee of Wine and Liquor Specials, 2439 S. College Ave, said the store does not get very many people using fake IDs, but liquor store employees are not as well-trained to recognize fake IDs as doormen. Normally they will just refuse service to minors with fake IDs, but sometimes they confiscate the ID, depending on how the person acts.
“If they give us attitude, we might take them,” he said.
Morgan, from The Vault, said that he and his doormen have collected a four- to five-inch thick stack of fake IDs from the beginning of the year. When he finds a fake, he confiscates the ID and if they argue he offers an ultimatum.
“I offer to call the police and have them settle it,” he said. ” I haven’t had anyone stick around to call the police in all three of the years I have been doing this.”