How to spot a fake ID

Written by ehow contributor
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Today's fake ID is much harder to detect than in years past, thanks to technological advances. There are sites online where people can purchase a real-looking driver's license and there are many tech-savvy people who recreate the state license. Whether it is modified, borrowed or forged, follow these steps and identify whether an driver's license is fake or not.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Recent book of all state IDs

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  1. 1

    Watch the person who has the ID for signs of nervousness. Nervous body language such as darting eyes or fidgeting can signify it is fake. Be wary if the person clearly looks young.

  2. 2

    Compare the person to the picture. Keep in mind hairstyles and colors change, so you should be looking at facial features. The height and weight information is a big help.

  3. 3

    Look for signs of tampering. Fuzzy numbers or letters, red eye in the photo or bumpy surfaces are good clues. Key information often tampered with is the picture, birth date, height and weight. Numbers or a state seal may not match up after the laminate is put back in place, and the card may have rough edges--especially around the picture.

  4. 4

    Check the expiration date. A license with an expired date may signify it is a borrowed license as the original license holder may give one away which is no longer needed. In contrast, check for an ID which is marked as a duplicate. This could indicate the original license holder may have requested a second license for someone to use.

  5. 5

    Get out a recent book of each state's driver license details and compare to the ID. Rules change often, so make sure the copy is up to date. Compare the birth date against the driver's license number as many forgers forget to change this detail. Many states code the license number with the birth date and other identifying data. For example, in Wisconsin the seventh and eighth numbers match the year of birth and the ninth through eleventh numbers indicate the person's sex.

  6. 6

    Ask the person for a second, or even third form of ID if you are still unsure. In the case of a borrowed driver's license where the person looks similar to the original owner of the ID, it is unlikely there will be multiple cards with the same name as the ID. Ask for credit cards.

  7. 7

    Talk to the person, and insert key questions which are not usually thought of when someone changes the dates on a license. Ask for the person's zodiac sign or high school graduation year. When you believe it is a borrowed ID, ask what the middle initial stands for and see if there is a hesitation before the response.

Tips and warnings

  • Look more closely at out-of-state IDs. People assume you will not know what these look like, so they are used often.
  • If you are not absolutely sure an ID is real, do not serve alcohol to the person.

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