Carded: the skinny on fake IDs

Carded: the skinny on fake IDs // A Light Edit

All the good concerts are 21 plus. I’m the only one of my friends who can’t get into the bars. Hitting my older brother up for booze is getting old fast. Whichever underage inconvenience you’re most quickly tiring of, a fake ID may help. But be warned, there are risks inherent in forging that plastic.

Worry not. As the daughter of a bartender/restaurant manager, long-time cocktail server, and repeat fake ID offender, I have the inside scoop on getting served.

The photo barely matters

The pic on my first fake ID bore no resemblance to me. The height, eye color, and hair color didn’t match me. Luckily, in most cases, servers and bartenders only glance quickly at the photo. As long as the ID itself is real, and the date checks out, the person serving you has done their due diligence, and will swiftly fetch your drink and accept your tip.

Police DO sting bars and restaurants by enlisting underage volunteers to try to purchase alcohol, and the punishment for serving one of these undercover haters is severe. However, in a sting, the volunteer will use a fabricated ID or one that exposes their actual age. They cannot use borrowed, legitimate IDs depicting other people.

So don’t worry too much about whether the bartender knows that’s not your grinning face in the picture. Trust me, she doesn’t really give a damn. After all, calling someone out on their fake ID is awkward, and alienates a paying (and tipping) customer.

Where to score a fake

Ask family first — think siblings, cousins, or even in-laws. Do you have a family member that has similar physical features to you? Would she be willing to give you an old ID? Are you unlikely to ever have to use the ID in the same places she frequents? If you answered yes to any of these questions, suck it up and ask her. Offer to pay for her replacement ID, and promise to never get it confiscated. Keep in mind, the ID can’t be expired or clipped.

If you’re an only child, or are related to a bunch of uptight assholes, fear not. Turn to friends who work in bars — most establishments that serve alcohol have a box brimming with confiscated or forgotten IDs that you can sort through. Be discrete, and be sure to buy your pal a drink for her trouble.

When and where to use it

Carded: the skinny on fake IDs // A Light EditAlthough using a fake ID isn’t a felony and is unlikely to fuck up your entire life, it would create an unsightly smudge on your criminal record. So it’s best to not get caught. Hold fast to the following rules for using your fake ID.

  • No liquor stores: liquor store clerks are most diligent about weeding out fakes, and will not hesitate to call the cops if you try to purchase booze underage. After all, they’re held to the highest standard of scrutiny by the law, and could get shut down for accepting fakes.
  • No college bars: doormen and bartenders at establishments near colleges or universities are under strict instruction from the owner to be on the lookout for fakes. Typically, college bars are under close watch by the city, and make extra effort to keep out underage drinkers. Unless your fake ID looks extremely legit, don’t try.
  • No cops: never present a fake ID to a cop. Seriously, don’t. Police officers will look you up, and will definitely arrest you when your cousin’s face shows up. Best case scenario, they don’t catch on, and you’ve just stolen someone’s identity. If you find yourself in hot water, show the cop your real ID, and learn from the experience.

Tips for seeming legit

Generally, servers and bartenders want to serve you. However, doormen don’t give a shit about tossing your ass out. So when approaching these behemoths of the service industry, keep the following tips in mind to avoid tripping their bullshit meters.

  • Your ID should match your credit cards. In your case, your ID won’t match anything else in your wallet, so leave the wallet at home. Instead, bring a small clutch or purse, that has few pockets for cards and cash. Carry only your fake and some cash. That way, you won’t accidentally flash your Visa when fishing out your fake — or worse, hand over your REAL ID. And, obviously, always pay in cash. 
  • Accompany 21-plus friends. If you and a group of friends are rapid firing cards at the doorman, he will sometimes rush through them to get you all inside. This can help disguise your fake among the legit IDs. Get in line somewhere near the middle of the group.
  • Make eye contact. Although it may seem counter intuitive, it’s best to look a doorman in the eye expectantly when being carded. People using fakes will often look away, as an unconscious attempt to cover up their nervousness or guilt.
  • Snatch it quick. If the doorman starts to question you about your ID, snatch it and go. If he’s questioning you, you’re not getting in, and if you don’t grab it before he can pocket it, he’ll keep your fake. Don’t worry, he isn’t going to chase you down.

Follow these rules and you may keep your fake to drink another day. Do you have any other tips for getting by with a fake ID? Horror stories? Tweet me or share in the comments.

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