Have you ever wondered how bar bouncers and bartenders are so good at spotting fake IDs? Here’s a look at a few of the common tricks that bar professionals use to spot fake identification cards.
1. The feel. Bartenders will ask patrons to take out an ID if they suspect that it’s fake, and they test the weight, thickness, and feel of the ID to see if it’s obviously fake or if it has been tampered with. There may be edges traced with glue around a picture, or extra lamination that proves a forgery. Anything that indicates a possible forgery raises an immediate red flag, and the bartender will either outright to refuse the person a drink or ask additional questions to be sure that it’s a fake ID.
2. The numbers. Bartenders will look at a few numbers on the card to see if it’s a fake, in particular the drivers’ license number, which in some states such as Illinois, usually includes some information in the seemingly random number such as the year of the driver’s birth. If that doesn’t match the number on the card, it can be an instant sign that the ID is a fake and the customer shouldn’t be served alcohol or allowed into the bar, as the case may be. This is also another place that the bartender knows to look for subtle alterations.
3. Questions. By asking the prospective patrons a few questions, bartenders and bouncers hope to trip them up and prove that an ID is fake. Common questions won’t be anything like “what year were you born,” as they assume that someone willing to buy a fake ID would take the time to memorize that information. They’ll ask for Zodiac sign, month of birth (hoping to hear a number instead of a month), and may even ask any friends with the person with the fake what the person’s name is. Any hesitation indicates that the ID isn’t real, although they may need to further inspect the ID to completely prove it.
4. Exotic locations. Like in the movie Superbad, many people with fake IDs will have identification that declares them from an exotic area. Bartenders and bouncers immediately see this as suspicious, and may ask for information about the place that the person claims to be from.
It’s worth noting that in most states, if an ID is found to be fake, it must be returned to the person that owns it. However, the police can be called, and the person can be charged with a crime for providing fake identification.
Do you work at a bar? What tips do you use to spot a fake ID? Post in our comments section below.