Fake licenses keep getting better as under-21 set continues quest for booze

Site advertises fake licenses with your own info.

Back in the day, the only way for somebody under 21 to get a drink was to borrow or steal an older sibling's or friend's license and hope the doorman or waitress didn't look too closely.

These days, they have another option: Find a site like Really Good Fakes or Florida Fakes, upload their photo and personal info and key in their credit-card info for the $150 purchase (less if they buy a bunch). In a week or so, they get back a realistic looking driver's license got enough to fool a busy doorman - even one with a scanner designed to catch a fake.

Local bars and police say they're involved in a never ending arm's race with the area's smart students and companies, some based in China, that try to outsmart whatever technology the bars adapt - from black-light wands to computerized scanners that constantly download the latest data on fake IDs.

Well, except experienced cops can still suss out many of the fakes, and some of the students turn out to be pretty dumb.

Yesterday, the Estate, 1 Boylston Pl., had to explain to the Boston Licensing Board why it shouldn't be punished for the three under-aged drinkers Boston Police detectives found in an unannounced inspection on Jan. 24.

Detectives William Gallaghar and Robert Mulvey said that when they entered, they immediately noticed three young looking patrons, one holding a Corona, another ordering a Corona and a third getting a vodka and ginger ale. One turned out to be 20, another 19, and the third 18, they said.

Two were done in by the one thing the fakes still don't have down quite right, they said: The lamination. For $150, you're just not going to get the same caliber lamination you'd get on a real license in many states, including Massachusetts. Bend the license a bit and on a fake, the lamination will separate from the paper inside it and create a bubble or get wrinkly.

The third was done in by simple police work: Mulvey asked her for the Zip code on the supposed Connecticut license, and she couldn't recite it correctly.

Gallager used the same trick in November to out an 18-year-old caught drinking in a Dorchester bar - when asked for the Zip code on her New York license, she said "02127," which is South Boston's.

Mulvey said he's yet to run across a fake Massachusetts license. But that might not be because the RMV is better at producing fake-resistant licenses, but because the kids who buy fakes tend to prefer out-of-state ones, on the theory that if they do get questioned, a doorman or cop will simply be less familiar with an out-of-state license and maybe let them go. In fact, it's part of the advice Really Good Fakes gives its visitors:

Our fakes replicate the actual ID about 80-90% spot on, and could most likely pass in state. Although this is never recommended to purchase a Fake ID as the same state you live in!

The site offers helpful hints on using your fake ID, including:

Some people ask us, "are you sure this is how it is suppose too feel and look?" Yes, we are 100% certain, we have perfected our fakes. Have faith in your ID. If you look scared when using it, people can sense fear. Especially bouncers, that is their job. Practice using it at small places that don't care, gas stations, restaurants, get use to building your confidence up, so you don't get it taken from you at the first 21+ club you go to because you're shaking in your boots!

It also urges customers to buy extra copies, just in case:

If your ID is taken within 14 days, we will offer you our special reprint price of $75. If it's taken after 14 days, unfortunately, you will have to pay the full price. Which is why we strongly recommend getting at least 1 backup copy since it only cost $50 at time of print!

Mulvey said one of the three people they nabbed at the Estate knew right away the jig was up - because the detectives recognized him from when he got caught doing the same thing a year earlier at another bar.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take. Estate attorney Dennis Quilty pleaded for leniency, noting the increasing sophistication of the fake licenses: "I don't know how [bars] can keep up with this technology; it's amazing."



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    By on

    You probably drink wine-coolers!


    Montreal is a few hours away

    You could spend a weekend there for that kind of money - or more.

    Or check into a semester abroad somewhere outside of the Muslim world - which is the only other part of the planet with such a ridiculous drinking age.


    Or you could just be smart.

    Or you could just be smart. I never needed a fake ID when I was underage because I drank in the dorm where someone else bought the booze.

    I also went to college in the post-laminated but pre-Internet era, when the states had begun to use the plastic-printed cards, but you couldn't order anything online because, um, that hadn't really been invented yet.


    High drinking age = fail

    What you describe here is exactly why the 21 drinking age results in binge drinking, other overconsumption problems. It takes a natural human social activity and converts it to a furtive, secretive activity without that critical feedback from other humans. That, and it moves even group activity away from meaningful external limits - like bartenders shutting off the flow or calling the cops to oust the group.


    I disagree with you here, SwirlyGrrl.

    By on

    Massachusetts upped the drinking age to 21 for a reason; when the drinking age was lowered to 18, there definitely was an increase in drinking among high school-aged kids, because it was much more easily accessible to them.

    Also, this is not to say that adults can't be permanently damaged cognitively by alcohol, but teenagers are even more susceptible to that kind of permanent cognitive damage due to the long term heavy use of alcohol, because their brains and minds, as well as their bodies, are still undergoing physical development, and are therefore more vulnerable.


    Riiiiight. And there was a

    Riiiiight. And there was a lot less binge drinking or drunk driving when the drinking age was 18? I'd love to see the statistics on that one....


    Binge drinking went up with youth prohibition

    Binge drinking is absolutely up:

    We found that in 2001 more drinkers could be
    viewed as drinking to excess on such measures as frequency
    of drinking, frequency of drunkenness, and frequency of
    drinking to get drunk, which is consistent with the finding
    that more students are frequent binge drinkers. This higher
    level of immoderate consumption probably accounts for the
    increase in the reported amount of self-induced harm
    drinkers caused over the study period.

    Source: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_url?hl=en&q=http://www.researchgate.ne...

    This is why college presidents are banding together to request a lower drinking age. Only Muslim countries have as restrictive age limits as the US - what does that say about our laws as effective measures for health and safety (as opposed to prohibitionist moralizing tools)?

    The 21 drinking age is a huge waste of time and resources.

    Drunk driving is a separate issue than the drinking age. Drunk driving was always far less about youth and far more about societal norms and lacking punishments. In the 1980s, plenty of over-21 people drove drunk, too, because society didn't take it as seriously as now. However, it was easier to attack those durn whippersnappers than jail a bunch of judges and politicians for their behavior. Punish the drivers who drive drunk, not the drinkers who don't drive.

    Finally, young adults in Canada, where the drinking age varies from 18 to 19 by province, drink less than their counterparts in the United States (even though a higher percentage of the Canadians drink): http://alcoholism.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.hsph....


    But the period of that study,

    But the period of that study, 1993-2001, is long after the legal drinking age had been raised to 21. I don't understand how this study is relevant.

    Pulling random snippets from the article resulted in this for me:

    "Features of the environment that promote heavy alcohol use, such as college drinking traditions, lax college or community policies and enforcement, easy accessibility to cheap alcohol in high volume, and gaps in service networks have received far less attention than other prevention efforts.13–15"

    So, maybe it's up to the colleges to change "drinking traditions"


    American College Culture

    Is unique to this part of the world. Movies like 'animal house'. 'Old School', etc, etc. We have a binge drinking culture here. It would probably be that way regardless of the drinking age.

    Hell, maybe the low drinking age is what started it. A friend of mine went to Hobart in the 1970s. They would have a day in June where a truck would simply back up into the quad and unload about 50 kegs with 50 different kinds of beer. Since everyone was 18, there was no issue. Everyone got hammered. (I guess that sounds like fun though, maybe the drinking Ge needs to be lowered!)


    I think that's the real

    I think that's the real problem. For too long, binge drinking behavior has been acceptable in the college community. I think the president or chancellor or whatever the title at Tufts recently wrote something about this. Until that changes, the drinking age could be 10, and you're still going to have this problem. At least if the drinking age is 21, I think the likelihood that a 21-year-old is going to buy booze for high-school freshman is less than if the 18-year-old high-school senior is buying beer just to be the cool guy.

    Drinking to get drunk as a normal, regularly occurring activity is much more acceptable in America than it is in any European culture I've experienced. I was at a Biergarten last summer in Berlin with friends. Not only did none of us, or actually anyone around us, get remotely drunk or rowdy, the behavioral norm was a beer with your meal. That's it. My American friends couldn't believe it, and thought it was a wasted opportunity.


    Try Eastern Europe

    American college kids have nothing on university students in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Russia. And Ireland and the UK. And actually, I'm going to disagree with you about Berlin, too. I had a friend who lived there for a while at the same time I was living in Budapest and there was plenty of drinking to excess among the people he lived and worked with - and they were almost all natives.

    The only time I've ever gotten so drunk I have trouble remembering what happened was a summer night in Berlin when we went barhopping with some kids in from Munich. I have this vague memory of winding up at a beach bar complete with sand and palm trees that was on the river opposite Museum Island. I still remember standing there barefoot in the sand and looking up at the incredible buildings on the island. Man, Eastern Europe in the early 2000s was weird and awesome.

    Explain the differences from Canada

    The only difference between the two groups is that Canadians can publicly drink at 18 or 19. More of them drink, fewer of them drink as excessively as US people the same age.

    We don't have to even bring in the low European drinking ages to make the argument that an excessively high drinking age has negative consequences. But in your own words: "Drinking to get drunk as a normal, regularly occurring activity is much more acceptable in America than it is in any European culture I've experienced. "

    There is a reason for that. See the other comments about "learning not to be a douche drinker" because you grow up drinking in public places with social consequences.


    "You grow up drinking in

    "You grow up drinking in public places with social consequences."

    Um, no. You don't "grow up" drinking, even in Europe. Adults drink; kids don't.

    Can you show me some statistics for the rapid plunge in binge drinking in over-21s in the US. They're legal, right? They have all the social consequences to control them, right? In your argument, this should play out statistically.

    I'm not so sure it's as straightforward as: lower the drinking age=stopping the problem.



    Again with the random quoting thing:

    Binge drinking by adults is a strong predictor of binge drinking by high school and college students living in the same state.5,6

    And (something we haven't really mentioned):

    The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends implementing and maintaining an age 21 minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) based on strong evidence of effectiveness, including a median 16% decline in motor vehicle crashes among underage youth in states that increased the legal drinking age to 21 years.


    States with more stringent alcohol control policies tend to have lower adult and college binge drinking rates.

    References are included at the bottom of the article.

    I think there's a larger problem with the culture of alcohol use, one that won't be solved simply by lowering the drinking age. Heck that could easily be done (and probably is) at home--teach your kids how to drink with all those social consequences.

    To put it this way, SwirlyGrrl:

    By on

    For starters, I've lived in Massachusetts pretty much all of my life, and I remember the time that when the voting age was lowered to 18 (which was alright with me, and other people.), back in the early 1970's, they also tried lowering the drinking age. It was found that here in Massachusetts that alcohol was way too easily accessible for high school kids.

    As for lowering the drinking age to 18, I'll say this: While it's true that when a person turns 18, s/he is not an adolescent any longer, s/he is not fully an adult, either. 18 is just barely starting out as an adult; When someone is 18, 19, or even 20, s/he is right on the threshold of adulthood. Having said this, I stand by my position that while it's true that there are plenty of over-21 casualties of alcohol, people who're just right on the threshold of young adulthood (late teens, for example), are much more susceptible to being permanently harmed by alcohol's sometimes deleterious affects.


    How many teens do you have at home?

    Mine are 18 and 16. Yours?

    I share my wine and beer with them all the time, which is legal in MA.

    It would also be nice if you would cite some research for discussion that supported your positions ... preferably from the public health or the behavioral health community. Lots of free papers available here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed, (and some behind paywalls). That's where I get my information, both for work and for other subjects requiring rational research.

    One doesn't have to have teenage children (or any children)

    By on

    One doesn't have to have teen-aged kids (or kids of any age, for that matter) to be aware enough of things to take a position on this topic, even though it may differ from yours, SwirlyGrrl.

    I do have a nephew that just turned 13 this past November, and I think that his parents are quite capable of making him aware of alcohol and the deleterious affects that it can and sometimes does have on much younger people.

    It's one thing if you and your kids drink responsibly at home, but far too many kids who are 18-20 get into trouble when they binge-drink in college, sometimes even dying from the affects of that kind of behavior.


    My testimonial evidence

    By on

    I came to Boston in the early 80s, and was part of the last generation of 18 year olds who were grandfathered under the law that changed the drinking age to 21. So I've been able to drink legally since I arrived. And I saw the changes from the ground, and from 'both sides' as it were.

    Certainly there were plenty of young people with drinking issues before the change. I could tell some tragic stories of peers of mine who were already struggling with alcohol abuse when they started college - or soon after. But the wide-spread presence of what we call 'binge' drinking was unknown.

    That totally changed in just a few years. The college culture in Boston went through a radical transformation. Hip flasks became popular. Distilled spirits were the new thing. New students stopped going to restaurants and pubs as much, and even stopped going to each other's campuses. The college student populations became balkanized. Now dorm and frat parties were nearly always blowouts, because if you were going to go through the hassle of either getting approved or hiding a party, you had to make it count. The volume knob got turned to 11 right away.

    Mixers and lounge parties, where undergrads, grad students, and faculty would be social together pretty much died out. Now I rarely find students who have non-college Bostonians as friends or even acquaintances - whereas I have relationships with folks here that go all the way back to my undergrad days over three decades ago.

    All this meant that young people stopped getting aculturized in how to have a good time while drinking but not be a douche (which, let's face it - some young people need a lot of learning to get). Alcohol poisoning became something that happened often enough that no one needed to have what that meant explained.

    And although the cocaine epidemic of the late 70s - 80s was in full swing when I arrived, the lack of legally acceptable intoxicants did nothing to slow it down - after all, it's a lot easier to carry, hide and use a few grams of powder than a six-pack.


    Interesting article in the

    By on

    Interesting article in the Atlantic recently which covered the same sort of thing - how the the change in drinking age moved college drinking from university-controlled places and bars to private locations and the problems that came with.


    Try having a dorm party in

    By on

    Try having a dorm party in Boston now. You'll be lead out in handcuffs. The locals are out for blood against us students.


    I went to college in Vermont

    By on

    I went to college in Vermont and going to Montreal was so much fun when my friends and I were underage! So much La Fin du Monde! I never even bothered getting a fake ID!


    Are these kids ever charged

    By on

    Are these kids ever charged with forging official documents or anything? Or is a fake ID just something that's brush off as "kids will be kids"?


    They face criminal charges

    By on

    They're always summonsed into court, for things such as being a minor in possession of alcohol (if caught with a drink in hand), using somebody else's ID (for those kid who do still borrow bro's or sis's license) and, if they're really bad and try to insist they really are 21, presenting a false ID to a police officer.

    The conversations with mom and dad about how they suddenly need a lawyer are probably fairly priceless.


    When I was 18 and they then

    By on

    When I was 18 and they then moved the drinking age to 21, I went to the RMV with a friends passport, bank book and social security card. I got my picture on her license and in no time I was back at Gladstones!
    Of course while I waited at the RMV, I noticed the posters with the mandatory 1 yr imprisonment for falsifying MA Licenses.
    I took my chance and lucked out.
    Now as a parent, I am glad that what I did would not likely happen today.



    By on

    I took my chance and lucked out.

    You sure did luck out, Patricia, after taking such chances.

    Falsifying any kind of an ID is something that I never, ever would've done, no matter what!


    By on

    Kids these days. Just buy a 30 at the local packie that would approve a library card with a photo. Trying to get into bars is just asking for trouble, not to mention a waste of money. Hooray! I get to pay $7 for a Corona!


    Maybe they want to have more

    Maybe they want to have more fun than sitting on a ratty couch watching Adult Swim.

    Also, Adam, I don't know when "back in the day" was for you, but back when I was in high school (early 80s) there were plenty of companies offering fake IDs from the back pages of Rolling Stone (as I recall, some of them may have had 'STATE ID' printed on them in large letters).


    Yeah, there's NOTHING like

    Yeah, there's NOTHING like sitting in the college bar--the music is blasting, the floor is sticky, there are 3,000 people packed into a space meant for 50. You can't hear your friend when she's screaming something into your ear. Bathroom? Probably best to go home and do that.

    Somehow, whether at home or out, I'm not sure that most college kids care about atmosphere. And, I don't know about you, but, grab some friends, grab some food, music, and I was having a great time. Ah, to be 19 again....

    I'm thinking that most states

    I'm thinking that most states have licenses with these features, which is why the website recommends not buying the ID of the state where you live--the differences are probably obvious to a trained eye.


    Sometimes you just get unlucky

    By on

    My brother used to work the door at a bar in Syracuse, near the university. One day a kid showed him what was supposedly a Washington state license.

    J: "This is fake."
    Kid: "No it's not."
    J: "Yes it is. It's not even a good fake. A real one looks like this." *pulls out his WA license*

    *sad trombone f/x*



    By on

    What's so great about faking an I. D. of any kind in the first place? It's illegal, and it's beyond stupid to flirt with trouble like that, imho.

    My friend is a bouncer in

    By on

    My friend is a bouncer in Boston and according to him, it takes some online research to spot fakes but still totally possible without a scanner. A few simple questions, like the officers popped to those kids, are enough to flush out the ones who seem on the fence. His favorite question to ask is what/where is the nearest grocery store is to their "home address", while looking it up on his phone. Since they get fakes from other states, that one stumps even 4.0 Harvard freshmen who memorized everything else on the card.
    However, according to him most bouncers don't bother doing the leg work or asking questions and the ServSafe cert. doesn't always cut it in terms of keeping up with the new fakes.
    Having said that, the fakes he confiscates from my state look totally real to me, the lowly layman.
    As a side note, if the kid seems pretty well off, the bouncers will often offer to sell the confiscated ones back...


    I have observed that in the

    By on

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