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Spotting a Fake ID: Tricks to Keep in Mind

21st January 2011
By William Gabriel in Legal
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When you were young, you might have had a fake ID in order to bluff into a dance club or to get a drink. But fake IDs are no fun when they are used by thieves to steal people's identities and commit crimes. Technological innovations have also made it harder to detect fake IDs. Now you can buy a realistic driver's license online. There are a lot of geeks out there who can easily create a fake state license. All they need are ID card printers and ID card software. If you want to learn how to tell whether or not an ID is fake, follow these instructions.

First of all, you'll need a recent book of all state IDs. Now it's time to study a person's body language. Look out for signs of nervousness, like darting eyes or fidgeting. This may mean that their ID is a fake. If a person looks young to you, make sure to double-check their ID.

Hairstyles and colors change with the years, so train yourself to look at facial features in order to see if the person holding the ID is really the person in the picture. You may be greatly aided by the height and weight information on the ID. While weight can fluctuate, an adult person's height doesn't change. Take into account any height adjustments you may have to make if your subject is wearing heels or elevator shoes.

Check the ID for any signs of tampering. Watch out for fuzzy numbers or letters, a red eye in photos and bumpy surfaces. The information on the ID that is most tampered with is the picture, birth date, weight and height. Sometimes the numbers or the state seal no longer match once the ID's laminated cover has been put back. You should also watch out for any rough edges, particularly around the picture.

Don't forget to look out for an IDs expiration date. If a person's license is expired, they may have borrowed it from someone else or they may have gotten it from the original license holder. Some people give away their old licenses when they no longer need it. You should also check to see whether or not an ID is marked as a duplicate. The original license holder may have requested and gotten a second license and then given it to another person to use.

This is the part where your recent book of each state's driver license details will be put to good use. Take it out and compare it to the ID. Make sure that the book that you have is recent, because the rules for state IDs often change. Check to see that the birth date matches the driver's license number. This is one detail that many forgers overlook. There are certain states that use the birth date and other personal data to code the license number. In Wisconsin for example, the seventh and eighth numbers correspond to the year of birth. The ninth through eleventh numbers meanwhile signify a person's sex.


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