Fake IDs: Both Sides of Technology


Fake IDs on college campuses are nothing new. It’s an ongoing struggle between students procuring fake IDs to buy alcohol or gain access to bars and clubs, and bar and club owners being extra vigilant to spot fake IDs to protect their liquor licenses.

Fake IDs are big business. In August 2013, a Clarke County, GA grand jury indicted 21 students in connection with a sophisticated counterfeiting ring that spread across the University of Georgia and reached as far as Michigan, Alabama, Florida and other schools in Georgia, according to Online Athens.

Beyond Underage Drinking

Students should be aware that carrying false IDs create problems and crimes well beyond underage drinking. With the spread of identity theft federal, state and local governments are taking false IDs more seriously. Carrying a false ID can lead to check fraud, bank fraud, Social Security fraud, immigration fraud and credit frauds. Using a false ID to purchase alcohol in Virginia could result in a Class 1 misdemeanor leading to a $500 penalty, 50 hours of community service and loss of a driver’s license for a year.

In the Georgia case, one was charged with eight counts of manufacturing and distributing false identification documents and manufacturing and distributing false identification of documents containing government seals, one was charged with nine counts of the same crimes, and 19 other co-defendents were charged with various crimes relating to the distribution of fraudulent documents. All offenses are felonies.

Spotting Fake IDs

In the same tug-of-war battle that goes on between underage students sporting fake IDs and club bouncers trying to spot them, there’s a tug-of-war going on between technologies to create and spot fake IDs. There are several services available to help bar, club and restaurant owners with alcohol beverage compliance consulting and training, including SAFE ID CHECK® by J.B.S. Professional Services L.L.C. Also, the team at Atlantic License Brokers is always available for guidance or referrals to local services.

There are also apps hitting the market, like BarZapp – an app created by Intellicheck Mobilisa’s patented ID check software that verifies ID authenticity by reading and verifying information in the bar codes and magnetic strips of state drivers’ licenses, identification cards, and military and government IDs. It’s available at iTunes for $1.99 with a limit of 10 scans per day. Subscriptions can be purchased for unlimited scans for $19.95 per month.

Bouncers or wait staff simply aim a smartphone at a patron’s ID to instantly read the encoded information including name, date of birth, ID number and expiration.

“We believe that the introduction of barZapp offers an exciting and powerful new tool to battle the problem of fake IDs. This low-cost solution can not only help to deter underage drinking, but also help protect alcoholic beverage and tobacco product providers from costly fines and potential loss of license from serving underage patrons,” said Nelson Ludlow, Ph.D., President and CEO of Intellicheck Mobilisa, as quoted in Daily Finance “Intellicheck Mobilisa Launches barZappTM ID- Checking Mobile App for Smartphones” in July, 2013. An Android version is expected to be released soon.

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