Fake ID’s: Three Things that Might Surprise You

These days, you can get a new fake ID for $100 from China. The quality, according to the FBI, is unbelievably good. See, e.g., John McAuliff, USA Today, “Overseas Forgers’ Fake IDs Can Fool Even the Experts,” June 9, 2012. The studies confirm what we already know: at least two thirds of freshman use a fake ID “25 percent of the time” when they drink alcohol. Unlike your parents’ college days, however, there are at least three things chances are you didn’t know about fake IDs in 2017:

1. The FBI considers College Fake IDs a Security Threat.

“Post 9/11,” in the age of terror, both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI consider fake IDs, not just college kid stuff, but “a threat to national security.” The FBI and Department of Homeland Security warn that fake IDs can be used to (a) avoid no-fly watch list and enter the United States; (b) purchase weapons; (c) open bank accounts; (d) send money; (e) apply for credit cards; and (f) rent hotel rooms. Fake IDs are so good now, at least some of them have digital holograms, magnetic strips, PVC plastic covers similar to credit cards, and ink sensitive to ultraviolet light. They can fool both the “bouncers” and law enforcement. This is no joke.

2. University and local police now often criminally prosecute college students for possession and distribution of fake IDs.

In partial response, many public university police departments, states, cities and towns criminally prosecute for a fake ID. Charges vary. Even for misdemeanors, however, consequences can be on occasion surprisingly serious, in certain cases even if the charges are dismissed.

3. Some employers may not or cannot hire you, even if the charges are dismissed.

If you applied or want to apply to work at a government agency, government contractor, or any bank or investment firm, a fake ID issue may be flagged as a “crime of dishonesty,” even if the charges are dismissed.

For example, I once had a case where a college student got caught ordering fake IDs from China for other students. He was charged with a felony, but his prior attorney got the charges dismissed through something called a “diversion” program. After he graduated a few years later, he applied for a job in an investment bank. But an obscure FDIC regulation says that banks can’t hire anyone who committed a crime of dishonesty, even if the charges were dismissed through a “diversion program”. And the bank considered the fake ID case a crime of dishonesty. The prosecutor actually wrote a letter to the bank to try to help.

4. There are academic consequences if you are charged with manufacturing, purchasing and/or possessing a fake ID.
Universities have their own policies with regard to fake IDs.

Generally, if caught on campus with a fake ID, the university may take disciplinary action. If you are applying for college admission, remember: 60 percent of academic institutions consider criminal records for admission purposes.

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