If you’re bartender or a bouncer at your local watering hole, then you know the ways that the local teens use to get into your fine establishment. Everything from jumping windows to using fake IDs, you’ve probably seen it all.
But Fake IDs aren’t what they once were. These days, you’ll find that a fake is much more than a crudely drawn piece of cardboard. Fake IDs these days can bypass high tech verification processes, so what chance would your weary eyeballs stand after a rough shift?
Fear not, we’re here to make your job a little easier. We’ll provide you with 10 of the best ways to spot a fake ID and stop it dead in its tracks.
1. Check the Spellings
It seems like such an obvious tell but you’d be surprised at how many fakes end up having “Califronia” or “Georgea” on them. It’s always a never ending source of entertainment.
The fact is, many of these IDs are being made en mass by producers living in pockets of the world like China or Korea. And while a local here can spot these mistakes a mile away, you can bet they aren’t winning any spelling bees over there.
Catching small spelling mistakes like these remains to be one of the easiest and quickest ways to spot a fake ID. It takes less than a second and the added satisfaction of pointing it out to your underage patron is a nice bonus.
2. Pay Attention to Their Body Language
When someone tries to use a fake ID on you, they’re under the assumption that they can dupe you into thinking it’s legit. But it doesn’t matter how confident they are, in the back of their mind they know that they can get caught. And it’s that simple fact that’ll make their body betray them.
All it takes is a quick glance to assess where your customer’s mind is at when you look over their ID. Do they fidget a little too much? Are they looking a little too hard at you with uncertainty? Do they shake in their boots every time you scrunch your brow?
Yeah…they’ve probably got something to hide.
Drastic changes in body language are a good indicator that you need to press further. And it almost all cases, it leads to catching a fake ID in the act. If you want to know the truth from a Bouncer’s perspective then, here’s a video you would like to view.
3. Compare it to a Real ID
To know a fake, you need to know what the real thing looks like. It can be hard to assess a fake ID at face value especially if you aren’t an ID card enthusiast (most aren’t). That’s why using a real ID as reference can be a good way to assess just how real or fake the ID in question is.
Most fakes rely on looking as close to the real thing as possible without being completely accurate. The assumption is that if it’s 90% of the way there then it’s essentially foolproof. But as long as there’s a shadow of doubt, you can separate a fake from a real ID.
Once you have the two side to side, you’ll start to notice subtle differences. It could be something like the thickness being off or the material feeling a little different. And as soon as you see the differences, they can’t be unseen.
4. Look for Information Mismatch
An ID is just a short synopsis of someone’s personal details. But when these details don’t match the one carrying them, then you’ve either got the wrong person or the wrong ID. Likely, the wrong ID.
If you notice even a hint of there being the wrong kind of information on the ID, then that’s a pretty clear sign of a fake ID. Most people do this to avoid having their information out there if they get caught. But ironically, it’s the fake info that gets them caught in the first place.
Be on a lookout for information that doesn’t line up like their name, height, weight, or even the DOB. You can cross reference this with their credit card, other documents, or even just straight up asking them.
You can’t fault someone for not knowing their exact height or weight but if they don’t whether they’re a Virgo or a Libra, then you know you’ve got problems.
5. Feel the Picture on the ID
While fakes have come leaps and bounds since the old days, there are a still a couple of people out there touting bad fakes. And they’re not hard at all to spot.
Sometimes all you need to check a fake ID is to run your thumb over the picture on the ID. If it feels like it’s raised slightly higher, has exposed corners, or is a little too big to be on the ID, then you know you’ve got a fake ID in your hands.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book from the time you didn’t really have any sophisticated printing equipment. All you had to do was take a legit ID and haphazardly stick your picture on top and voila! You had a fake ID. Of course, this also makes them the easiest to spot.
6. Try to Find the Laser Printing
Modern day IDs rely on extensive features that can be a bit harder to replicate than having an inkjet printer in your basement.
Most of the time there are features on there that would need expensive industrial equipment to copy. That’s not something the average fake ID maker has access to.
The most painfully obvious one of these features is the laser printing. It’s hardly something that’s easy to replicate and most of the time it’s hidden by visual layers on the ID itself.
A lot of states have laser perforation on the front specifically for this purpose. Sometimes you can even find a laser printer logo or picture on the back of the ID.
Suffice to say, if it doesn’t look it was done in the proper way then it’s more than likely you’re dealing with a fake.
7. Stake Out any Suspicions
Spotting a fake ID isn’t just about looking at the facts and details at face value. Sometimes it can go beyond that to trusting your gut feeling when something goes wrong.
A lot of the times, things may seem okay and legit on the surface but you might find a suspicious pattern. If you have someone using an ID that doesn’t match their actual address then this is your cue to start digging more.
Likewise, if you find someone using an ID really far out of state then this can also be very suspect. Safe to say, if you have someone with a Southern drawl using an NY ID then it can be a major cause for red flags.
8. Look for Ghosting or Blurring
Fakes can have some fairly telltale signs when you look at their quality. While a normal ID will be best suited for to handle all the little intricacies of the details that go into ID making, the same can’t be said for a fake.
Small imperfections can pop out a lot when they’re on an ID that’s being used. Anything like having the images or logos appear ghosted is a good enough cause to turn down the ID.
Likewise, if you start to see low resolution printing or blurriness on the IDs, then it’s completely possible that you’re dealing with a fake.
9. Scan the Magnetic Strip
A lot newer IDs are starting to incorporate electronic elements to them. This makes them easier to be scanned by machines or other digital means.
One the hallmarks of these high tech space age features is the magnetic strip. It works just like any other magnetic strip on your credit card or hotel key. Data goes in, data comes out. And while they’re a standard feature on real IDs, the same can’t be said for fakes.
Some fakes will even go so far as to add in the strips to the IDs without making them functional. If you scan an ID and nothing comes up, then you’re dealing a fake ID.
10. Examine the Finer Details
IDs can be built with some of the most high tech features known to man. There are plenty of states that use sophisticated techniques to increase the security of their IDs. It’s not something an ID worth its salt can carry.
There are plenty of different details to look out when examining fakes. States have their own features and tells so it’s easy to catch a fake if you know what to look out for.
Some of the key features that you need to be looking out for are things like UV features, micro printing, engraving, and holograms. These are all features that need their own specialized equipment to make their way onto the ID.
A lot of fake ID makers don’t have the means to reproduce these features. You’ll find that they might only have some of the details on there while ignoring the others. It’s this difference that separates an ID from something you’d get out of Fischer Price.