How to spot fake IDs

Originally published at: How to spot fake IDs | Boing Boing


The government uses high quality photos? Eh, my ID must be older than those shown.


I had one when I was 15 on the Jersey Shore when the drinking age was 18, never got caught.


When I saw the cropped preview image on the main page I expected to see Doctor Who’s psychic paper in the article. Alas.


Dropping the drinking age to 18 would put a lot of these out of circulation immediately.



The reason the drinking age is what it is in various locations around the globe is the expectation that there will be underage drinking. The lower you make the legal age, the younger the illegal drinkers will be.


i’m going to regret asking, but…

The usual tricks of checking the stock and beeping the code won’t work!

“beep the code”?
(and here i thought i was sorta tech savvy-ish; and i’ve never had any of my code beeped [sad clown face emoji])


I know that’s the justification, but I wonder how well that works in practice. The impression I get is that underage drinking is quite common in the US. In Germany where I live the drinking age is 16 for beer and wine and 18 for distilled alcohol. Of course there are some kids who drink alcohol even below that age, but by and large German teenagers do their drinking legally. That’s especially true if we are talking about drinking in venues that have ID checks as opposed to the more or less stealthy party in the home of whoever’s parent’s are out of town. In all my teenage years I encountered exactly one fake ID in real life and that was the one a classmate got for her student exchange to America. She proudly explained to us that this exotic American custom was not limited to the movies.

I would love to know how different the de facto age distribution of drinkers really is.


I was so young looking at 18, I had difficulty using the real thing.


In the late 70s early 80s the drinking age was 21 in my state. I started at 15 and mostly drank at home from the liquor cabinet.

Once I got a little older and started driving there was zero need for a fake ID because most of the liquor stores sold to minors. No troubles in most bars. The clubs with live entertainment were the tough places because they would card at the door. We just avoided those places.

I also grew up on the Canadian border where the drinking age was 19. We spent some quality time in Windsor.

I have no idea how easy it is for kids to get booze nowadays but I hope it’s a lot harder than when I was a kid.


When I was a bartender and suspected a fake ID, I would ask the person their horoscope sign. After 21 years, a person would know if they were a Libra, Virgo, etc. People with fake IDs usually memorized the address and social security number but the horoscope question busted them every time.


Beard growth at 14 made the process easy peasy lemon squeezie.


Easy if you know someone older than 21 who’s not a square.

(/s in case it’s not obvious.)


My town in NY had more bars per person than just about anywhere. Easy
to find somewhere at 14.

Celebrating my 18th pissed off the bartender when he found out my age.


I’m 44 and I’d need to look it up. I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else for a beer.


A square or a responsible adult? I used to buy for minors but after I quit drinking I realized it wasn’t a good idea. Had it not been so easy I wouldn’t have been an alcoholic at 17.

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In the late 70’s the drinking age in NY was 18 and there were no pictures on driver’s licenses, just height, eye color, hair color, etc. A friend finds a wallet on the beach with nothing but a license that fits his description exactly.

He memorized every detail on the license: not just name and address but literally every byte of information on the paper. Had people quiz him on it repeatedly, preparing to impress his best friend who was coming in from out of town.

The big day comes and he takes the buddy into the store, puts the booze on the counter, and slides his ID across. Guy behind the counter looks at the friend and asks, “What’s his name?”

I’m pretty sure they went sober that night.


No, you’re good. At 44 you have no need to present a fake ID. :wink:


Cities don’t fine bars for underage drinkers.

State alcoholic beverage control boards do as well as revoking the license to dispense same.