If you are ever in a position to serve alchohol or tobacco products in the United States, chances are you will have come across someone trying to make illicit purchases with a fake ID. Spotting most can be remarkably easy, just because so few people know how to.

These are a few obvious warning signs to look for:

Watching body language and eye movement can be a quick give away that someone is trying to get away with something. There are several tells, nervous body language, darting eye movements, and the eye following the ID or illicit product.

Government IDs will all be quality with clear text and images, and smoothly laminated.

Check your workplace regulations, but it is usual to only accept government issued IDs. Check the front and back for any indication, such as "This is not a government ID".

Most fake IDs are from out of state, to take advantage of your lack of knowledge of the ID. Use an ID catalog to verify the features of the particular document.

Fake IDs can be broken down into 3 general categories, but a particular ID may contain features from different groups.

The borrowed ID is the hardest to detect, simply because it is a valid document, just for a different person. The simplest way is to determine whether or not the entire description matches the person who gave it to you. Make sure height and eye color match. If in doubt, most IDs have a signature on them, so have the person give a quick sample. You can also quiz them or their friends on the information on the document. The most common form of borrowed IDs come from an older sibling. However, these are likely to be expired. Never accept an expired ID.

The most common, but perhaps easiest to detect, is the modified ID. A person will take a real ID and modify either the identification or the age. Feel along the top surface, it should be smooth and uninterrupted. A bump around the name, age, or picture may indicate that a coverup has been used. Slide your fingernail along the side to see if the laminate separates. Look for tiny pinholes that might indicate someone attempted to bleach out portions of the writing. Hold it at a steep angle to the light to see if there are any knife cuts or raised areas.

The quality of forged IDs can range greatly, from a laminated bubblejet business card to the product of a $3,000 plastic printer. If you have access to a blacklight, shine it over the ID to verify the validity of the document. Most ID catalogs will describe any UV security markings for the ID. Also examine the hologram, and make sure it is the one that should be, and isn't a fake using metal shavings or glitter. Make sure the laminate is continuous and smooth. Any air bubbles or seams indicate a home job. As with a modified ID, slide your fingernail along the edge to see if the laminate will separate. Gently twist the document back and forth. A real ID will bend back to shape, but a fake may tear, separate from the laminate, or be permanently bent. The text should all be clear, and any background on the card should appear crisp, and you should be able to make out detail in it. Any bluring or blending of text or graphics indicates a poor printing process.

Remember, it is your job to be vigilant about underage drinking and smoking. Most IDs are easy to spot, but people don't take the time, or think about it. A friend of mine used one of such poor quality, but it was always a success. It was "laminated" with two pieces of clear tape, and had bubbles. The state seal was blurry, to the point that all the text on it was illegible, and the actual ID information appeared washed out. A cursory examination would have revealed this ID to be a fake.

If you are ever a teenager in the United States, chances are you will come in contract with someone or be someone trying to make illicit purchases with a fake ID. Doing this properly takes moxie and some preperation.

Obtaining Zee Documents - one of the hardest aspects of buying alcohol with a fake ID is simply getting the document. The easiest source for a quality ID is an older sibling or older friend's expired, or if they're real nice, "lost" ID. Another great source believe it or not is bouncers or waitresses at kinda shady bars. They usually confiscate 5-10 a night and sometimes these are even legit.

What if I can't find a legit ID?

You can either try to buy one (I've never done it) or you can chalk your real ID.

Chalking - Chalking an ID is an ART. If your birthday is within the year make sure you only chalk the month, as this is far less suspicious. I'm not sure about other states but N.Y. also puts your birth year in black as the first two digits in the bottom right corner, make sure you chalk them too.

As for the chalking process it will depend entirely on your ID. For NY state you're gonna need a red, black, and white colored pencil and a lot of patience. Deciding just what year to change to will depend on your birthday, changing a "5" to a "0" is relatively easy and changing an "8" to a "3" is pretty easy too.

Using the i.d. - It's all about confidence. You'll find that a good 50 to 75 percent of the time you'll never even be asked for your ID. When you are asked though, it's important to have your game face ready.

Identification Presentation Checklist -

  • Look slightly annoyed, why do you need to see my ID? I'm clearly old enough.
  • Present it promptly, but awkwardly as if you are rarely asked, have it behind a plastic cover in a SEPARATE wallet from your normal one, present the whole wallet. If they ask you to remove it, do so.
  • If the picture is of you or a decent facsimile look them in the eyes. If it looks NOTHING like you, pick up some item at the counter: lighter, candy bar, gum, anything and start fiddling with it, act like you have ADHD. If the door opens, turn around and look curiously - not nervously. More of a "hey, who is that?" not a "SHIT, cops?!?!"
  • Have the money ready, but don't look eager.
  • Assuming it's not YOUR ID (or your brother's), be ready to run if you have to. Technically this is felony fraud but I've never heard of someone getting charged that harshly for buying brew.

The Getaway - If you're alone this is no problem, but often your car will be full of giddy children who can't believe you just bought alcohol. Try to keep them quiet and drive away slowly, if you have a covered trunk put everything in there, just in case you get pulled over, having three thirty-racks in your car looks slightly incriminating.

Enjoy - Go somewhere and fucking drink, of course if you're underage finding a place to drink may prove more difficult than getting alcohol - at least you can drink outside if it's summer.

Problems

My ID is for a thirty year old black guy and I'm a fifteen year old Latino, this won't work will it?

Maybe. Since I turned eighteen I've used an ID for a Mexican guy from New Jersey who was 26 when I got it. I look so little like him the guy actually commented on it as he packed my booze away, "Wow. You look nothing like this picture..." I didn't really know what to say, so I just said - "Yeah... it was a couple years ago." No problems. Give it a shot, worst that happens is you lose an ID you can't even use.

I can't get an ID ANYWHERE and I don't want to risk chalking mine, but I still want to get shitty drunk.

You can always try buying without any documents. If you're a guy don't shave a couple days and go in around 5:30 looking REALLY pissed off. Tell the guy you just got off work and need to get hammered. They won't ask questions (especially if they don't speak English), and if they ask for your ID say something like "AWW FUCK! I left it in the damn truck..."

Go try it!

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