A Lifetime of Secure Document & Authentication Technology Expertise
August 25, 2016, by Andrew Meehan
Over the past several years, there has been a precipitous rise in the availability and sophistication of fake IDs. At Keeping IDentities Safe, we have consistently maintained that this newer brand of fake IDs present challenges to our homeland and national security. Our research is increasingly showing a broad range of crimes associated with fake IDs. Millions of fake IDs have been sold into the United States by overseas vendors through internet sites, some based in China. College students and other underage youth are the primary customers for high quality, cheap fake IDs that can be used to enter bars and clubs, and to purchase alcohol and tobacco products. While many liquor stores and bars use scanners to verify the ages of their patrons, nearly all fake ID vendors encode the machine readable zone to pass the garden variety scanner.
In spite of the lack of a national strategy to address the obvious homeland and national security issues associated with these IDs, several state agencies have developed their own strategies for dealing with this influx of fake IDs. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has developed an excellent strategy for combating this epidemic of fake IDs that tackles the issue on multiple fronts through enforcement and education.
When dealing with fake IDs, any strategy must include enforcement. Generally, there is a perception that fake IDs are a rite of passage and that there are very few consequences for using a fake ID. Over the past several years in partnership with local authorities, DMV investigators targeted large scale concerts and events where there would be a high incidence of under aged drinking. The challenge with large scale events is that local authorities often do not have the manpower to ensure the safety of everyone attending as well as maintain the safety of the community at large. Additionally, many local enforcement officers do not have the necessary training or experience to recognize out of state IDs. By partnering with local sheriffs and police departments, DMV investigators are able to complement existing local law enforcement resources and provide the necessary expertise to recognize fake IDs when they are presented. The results speak for themselves. Over the course of 2015, these partnerships have resulted in 760 arrests and the seizure of more than 750 fake IDs. Over the course of 2015, DMV investigators worked with a number of local law enforcement ranging from the Cortland County Sheriff’s Department to the Ontario County Sheriff’s Department by targeting those large scale events such as the Dave Matthews and Kenny Chesney concerts and Cortaca, the annual Cortland-Ithaca football game. Seized fake IDs help train DMV investigators on what features are being counterfeited and what state IDs to look for.
While enforcement is important, it’s only half of the solution. Because the sophistication of overseas IDs continues to improve, it is likely that the majority of fake IDs used to enter bars gets through without being detected. Through education and outreach, it is important to discourage the use of fake IDs. Keeping IDentities Safe has a program to deter the use of fake IDs through education. Through our poster program, Keeping IDentities Safe seeks to educate students and underage youths regarding what penalties they may incur from getting caught using a fake ID. The idea behind the program is to provide disincentive regarding the use of fake IDs through education and outreach. Similarly, last August, prior to the school year, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office launched a similar information campaign, warning students that, “The ripple effects of identity theft can last for years and more and more college students are opening themselves up to fraudsters by attempting to purchase a fake ID from the internet. Our message is simple: It’s just not worth it — both for the immediate consequences of getting caught with a fake ID and for putting their financial future at risk.”