Skip to main content

How To Spot a Fake I.D.

Everybody and their uncle thinks they can pull a fast one with a little charm and a fake I.D. But not on your watch.


  • Step 1: Smooth your fingers over the card; uneven surfaces often indicate tampering.
  • Step 2: Check the expiration date. Kids often try to use an older friend or sibling's out-of-date license.
  • FACT: While some Americans favor lowering the drinking age to 18, it probably won't happen—any state that did so would lose 10% of its federal highway funding, worth millions each year.
  • : Using a false identification card is a Class A misdemeanor crime, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in jail, or both.
  • Step 3: Observe the typeset for the birth date and expiration date—it should match the lettering used on the rest of the license.
  • Step 4: Examine the date closely; bleach may have been inserted to "white-out" parts of it.
  • Step 5: Is the word "duplicate" on the front of the card? That might mean the person got an older pal to order an additional license.
  • Step 6: Keep an eye out for a missing or altered state logo or seal.
  • TIP: Watch the cardholder's body language. Sweating, avoiding eye contact, and/or touching his face are signs he might be trying to pull a fast one. Or ask for his birthday or zodiac sign to see if he can answer easily.
  • TIP: Hardcore checkers will use an I.D. checking guide, which shows every state's driver's license, to make sure they're not tricked by an unfamiliar out-of-state license.
  • Step 7: Flip the I.D. card over. Though the front may appear flawless, fake-I.D. creators often just photocopy the back.
  • Step 8: Look closely at the photo to see if the height and weight match that of the cardholder.

Popular Categories