Fake IDs have been rising in popularity at Seaholm. According to a survey conducted by the Highlander, 60% of survey respondents either had a fake ID themselves or knew someone who does.
One Seaholm upperclassman, who asked to remain anonymous in this article for fear of legal repercussions, has a fake ID. The student uses it exclusively to purchase alcohol and get into bars on occasion.
“I heard about a big group of people getting them, and I asked to be put into the group,” the student said. “Then I paid $100 and got two identical fake IDs.”
Buyers are given two fake IDs when they purchase theirs so that they have an extra copy if they get it taken away. Despite the hefty price tag, the student said that money wasn’t really a factor in their decision.
“I think it’s priceless, honestly,” the student said. “If you have a job, you have $100. I think they [the people who produce the IDs] could charge whatever they wanted, and people would still buy them for the independence of having one.”
The student did not know the person who provided them with the fake ID, and said that there were multiple middlemen in the chain from producer to consumer. They were not even sure where exactly the ID originally came from.
“If I hadn’t been put in this group, I would have just gone online to get one,” the student said. “There’s a ton of websites and they’re reliable.”
The student says that one of the best decisions they made about the fake ID was using their real birthday (except the year), real name and own picture.
This way, she said, she could easily remember the information on her ID if she was ever quizzed by a bouncer or someone at a store.
“I just made everything as real as I could,” the student said. “I went online and found a real address just in case they wanted to look it up.”
The student said that they didn’t plan on getting a fake ID until she wanted independence in purchasing her own drinks.
“It was on a whim, sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing,” the student said.
“I wanted one so that I could buy for myself and not have to rely on anyone else to do it for me, and to have the choice to go to bars with my older friends.”
The student said that they also use the ID to drink on family trips, since they are one of the few who cannot legally drink. They added that their parents know about their fake ID and are fine with them having it, and they use it to drink with them.
“I have never been questioned with it,” the student said. “Every time I’ve been carded, it worked.”
The student says they get plenty of use out of it and are happy with their decision to get one.
“I’ve used it almost every weekend since I got it a couple of weeks before school started,” the student said. “I buy [alcohol] for my friends a lot.”
Although the student says that most of their friends have fake IDs, they are usually the one to buy the alcohol. The student mostly has used it at liquor stores to buy for parties and small gatherings, but thinks that they will use it more at bars when summer comes along and friends are home from college.
“It’s not hard to get alcohol [without a fake],” the student said. “You could just text the right person.”
The student says that even though it was easy to get alcohol before, it is even easier now.
“Even though I could get it [alcohol] before, I got a fake because I just don’t like depending on people,” they said. “Some people think that it’s not worth the risk, and that’s totally understandable, but to me it’s worth it.”
When it comes to the risks associated with having a fake, the student says s/he “tries not to think about it.”
“I know it’s a felony to have a fake ID,” the student said.
“Every time I hand it over my hands start to shake and I think ‘this could go really wrong’, but then it goes right. It’s scary every time.”
However, according to Commander Scott Grewe of the Birmingham Police Department this is not the case.
“Just possessing a fake ID, whether it be a state driver’s license or a state ID card, is a misdemeanor,” Grewe said, “which does have a potential of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. For someone who sells with intent to deliver, however, the fines and jail time would only go up from there.”
Grewe has been on the force for 17 years and has never seen a call about a fake ID.
“They typically don’t get called in, and I’ve haven’t seen one my entire career,” Grewe said.
While Grewe states that most of the time when people are caught at bars or liquor stores, the person checking IDs just confiscates the card.
He says that the most common way people get caught is when they get pulled over and an officer sees it in their wallet when they are looking for their real ID.
“A lot of the time they get caught because an officer who has pulled them over sees it when they are flipping through their stuff to get out their license and the officer inquires further,” Grewe said.
Grewe says that most of the “fake” IDs that he sees are actually real, but are a family member’s, usually an other sister or brother, old, expired ID.
When it comes to kids at parties, the consequences involve a larger amounts of Minors In Possessions (MIPs) than the confiscation of the fake IDs.
“When we come to a party or give MIPs, we don’t really look to see if there was a fake ID involved,” Grewe said. “The only way we would know that a fake was involved is if the person just comes up to us and tells us, which people who have broken the law aren’t usually inclined to do.”
Grewe said that it would be a lot of work to find out if a fake ID was used for a relatively small crime.
“At the point where we are giving MIPs, it’s really just about getting people home safe,” Grewe said.
Owners of grocery and convenience stores have updated their technology to detect fake IDs more often.
“We used to hand-check the IDs by age, but the computers do all the work now,” K.C. Cavanaugh, who works in the office of Market Square in Birmingham, said.
Cavanaugh said that Market Square takes advantage of their ability to refuse service to anyone when it comes to not being certain if an ID is real or not.
“Sometimes if the girls at the checkout aren’t sure we tell them to ask for a couple other pieces of ID, like credit cards or other official forms of ID,” Cavanaugh said.
Market Square’s computer system doesn’t let customers purchase alcohol without giving proper ID.
“It won’t let the transaction complete without putting ID in the computer,” Cavanaugh said.
When the cashiers at Market Square suspect someone has a fake ID, they simply refuse service to that person.
While the popularity of fake IDs remains high, the associated risks continue to live on as well.