Archive for September 2006

The Fake ID

September 25, 2006

The fake ID has been a part of college life since there was college, or so it seems. Even before the drinking age was raised to 21 by the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984, young 17 year-old freshmen in college struggled with being too young to consume alcohol. And there is no question that consuming alcohol is a large part of many college students’ life. The facts and figures out there are endless.

But drinking behind closed doors in your dorm, or travelling out to various house parties only has so much allure. The biggest draw is the ability to go out to the bars, a right ideally reserved for those over 21. However we all know this is not that case. I would even suggest that the majority of people out in a college bar are underage. This is because the draw of being able to go out toe a cramped, hot, overpriced establishment wanes quickly once you are actually allowed to do so.

So how do all these underage students get in? It is all about the fake ID.


There are dozens of different approaches to the fake ID. I am simply going to address a couple of the most common here.

  • The easiest, and the best way typically……find someone who is older and who looks like you. Have them go to the DMV and get a replacement licence. This is not legal, let it be known. I believe it is something along the lines of “criminal impersonation.” But people do it. And actually I would say that the majority of people get their ID’s in this way.
    • My favorite: a roommate of mine in college had an older brother. Rather than just getting an ID from him, he went to the DMV with his brother’s birth certificate and got a new ID with his brothers information and
  • Chalking IDs has been another method that has been in place for a long time. Depending on your state’s ID you can “chalk” (use a colored pencil, usually white) to alter your year of birth so that you are of age. There are a couple problems with this:
    • Some numbers are hard to manipulate so that they look “real”
    • Some states don’t have IDs made so that they can be chalked
    • Some states also have “under 21″ printed on their IDs
    • More and more bars now scan IDs. They do this to verify that they are real, and that the person’s age is as it is stated on the licence.
  • Other editing techniques also are employed depending on the type of licence a state uses. One that is more like a traditional ID card can possibly be unsealed, numbers changed, and resealed. It can work, but it also ruins your real ID should you ever be pulled over by the 5-0. Keep that in mind.
  • The final major way that people gets IDs is to create them from scratch/buy them. This is entirely illegal, especially for the purpose of misrepresenting yourself. But it is done. It can be as simple as some collegiate entrepreneur running an ID factory out of his dorm room. Or it can be a major business. Just search the web and you will come up with all sorts of places to buy an ID. There are some issues with this though (besides being illegal):
    • IDs have become more elaborate, and therefore harder to recreate. Some have holograms, glow a certain way under a black-light, and have a particular texture or stiffness (not to mention the whole scanning thing). All of these things make it harder to make a “functional” fake ID.
    • What state are you going to be from? Some of the easiest IDs to create are those from the less populous states. But think about it for a minute. If you are going to college at a small state school, and show up to the bars with an ID from a far away state, say South Dakota, that is automatically going to tip off the bouncer that something may be off. The larger your institution, the more likely out of state IDs are going to work. But I would not press my luck at a small state school where most students are from in-state

And that would be our basic primer on the fake ID. There will be more to come, especially a post on how to get around not having an ID. Yes, there are still ways to get into bars without one.

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Fake IDs Save Lives in Iraq

September 13, 2006

A fascinating AP report says that Iraqis are using fake IDs in light of the recent growth in sectarian killings.  The major groups in Iraq are not distinguishable by physical traits, but they are by name.  To avoid being killed, people are getting false identification cards:

Surnames refer to tribe and clan, while first names are often chosen to honor historical figures revered by one sect but sometimes despised by the other. 

For about $35, someone with a common Sunni name like Omar could become Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite name that might provide safe passage through dangerous areas.

This illustrates very well how genuinely complex security can be.  At any time, the relevant authorities in Iraq could have decreed that all people get (as near as possible) forgery-proof biometric ID cards and carry them at all times – a great way to batten down a country, right? 

Doing so would have fed directly into the strategy being used by the enemies of peace and security in Iraq today: setting up fake checkpoints and killing people who arrive there members of the wrong sect. Identity cards had a role in the Rwandan genocide just over 10 years ago, as well.

Those who believe that identity cards are a simple route to good security, well, they suffer what is so rightly known as the fatal conceit. Central planning that deprives people of control over their lives can be deadly–literally–in surprising and unpredictable ways.

Thank goodness for the fake ID outlets in Iraq today, and thank goodness the promoters of ”secure ID“ in the United States didn’t take their message to Iraq.

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Fake ID’s and the Men Who Love Them

September 8, 2006

When preparing for spring break everybody makes a list of things you need to pick up before the trip. Ours included two new fake IDs. I fancied myself quite the wizard when it came to ID’s so I took it upon myself to whip up a couple of new fakes for our friends that were without. Nervously, my friends waited as the phony licenses were prepared; and upon completion, we knew we were ready for our trip to Key West.I had been there the year before without incident, using the license that I was proud to have created, so very little fear lingered in my mind over hitting the bars with our fake IDs in hand. The first few days went by without incident.Then came Wednesday night. The beers went down quickly that night and as everybody knows, your confidence builds inversely to your sobriety. We went from bar to bar without a problem. Two beers and a shot at one stop, a couple mixed drinks at another, and so on. Eventually we decided it was time to enter one of the local establishments known for gorgeous women and for cracking down on fake IDs. We approached the front of the bar where a big man with a flashlight like a billy club was checking licenses. I went first and with no fear slapped down my ID and the cover, and I was granted admission. At that moment I felt like I was the “king of the world”; 19 years old, on spring break, credit card in hand, and the ability to enter (seemingly) any bar I wanted. I was quickly making my way to the bar area, where I intended to order us up a few celebratory shots of tequila, when I realized that my friends were nowhere to be found. My first thoughts were that they had found some other way to entertain themselves upon entering the bar. But those ideas were flushed from my inebriated brain when I saw one of my friends not dancing with a cute young coed but, instead, being escorted from the front of the bar and into a police cruiser with our third compatriot scampering down the street trying to avoid detection.Obviously my IDs had not been as fool proof as I had predicted.One would think that our confidence would have been shattered upon seeing one friend arrested and the other, his ID confiscated, quickly heading home.One would think that after seeing our friend in an orange prisoner’s jumpsuit picking up trash on the beach, that we would avoid the bars like the plague.But that isn’t the end of our story. After shaking off the night’s hangover with a little hair of the dog at our luxury villa, we hatched new plans. We made a quick trip to the local office supply store and a short visit to the Key West library where we prepared a couple of new IDs and again were ready to take on the local bar scene. Once again, showing that when drunk college students put their minds to something, it takes them a few times to get it right.
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