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Co-authored by Lahaina Araneta, Esq.

In this Article:Article SummaryExamining the CardStudying the CardholderCommunity Q&A15 References

As licenses are becoming ever easier to forge, fake I.D.s are growing more common and more accurate. If you're in a position where you must verify someone's age or identity—whether a bouncer at a club or a teller at a grocery store checking a license for tobacco sales—it's important that you know how to detect fake identification. You should examine the card carefully, identifying relevant safety features, before studying the cardholder.

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Part 1
Examining the Card

  1. 1
    Know what to look for. Each state’s I.D.s are somewhat different. Accordingly, you should learn the security features used on cards in your state and in surrounding states. Fortunately, there is plenty of information available:
    • Purchase the I.D. Checking Guide from the Driver’s License Guide Company. It contains updated information on licenses in the U.S. and Canada.Hologram Generator Student amp; Card Scannable id ᐅ com Fake Id aqSwUxaY You can order by calling 800-227-8827.
    • Pick up any state-published reference. Your state might have published a booklet or handout on authenticating their state I.D.s. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
    • For instance, in some states, an I.D. for a person under 21 will be vertical, while one for a person over 21 will be horizontal.
  2. 2
    Compare the identification to one you know is valid. If you don’t have an I.D. checking guide, you can compare the I.D. to one you know is valid—maybe even your own. Check how similar they are. In particular, compare whether the thickness, size, coloring, lettering, and corners are the same. [2]
    • A fake I.D. may be thinner than a legitimate one. In particular, counterfeiters use different paper or laminate than legitimate I.D.s.
  3. 3
    Examine the microprint with a magnifying glass. Almost all states use microprint as a security feature. It looks like a straight line, but when magnified 10 times you can see the words clearly. Use a 10X magnifying glass to check whether the I.D. has microprint. [3]
    • The microprint will be located on different positions, depending on which state’s I.D. you are looking at.
  4. 4
    Hold the card under ultraviolet light. Depending on your state, certain security features will show up under ultraviolet light. For example, in California, you can see a second, lighter image of the cardholder only under UV light. [4]
  5. 5
    Feel the card. Your sense of touch can pick up on many signs of fraud. Some legitimate I.D.s may be tampered with, and you may be able to identify this through touch. For example, feel the edges of the I.D., which should be smooth and not peeling. [5] Also, the card shouldn’t be flimsy and bend easily.
    • Run a thumb over the picture and check its thickness. On some fake I.D.s, a picture is pasted over the original one, so the I.D. is especially thick there.
    • Some information may also be tactile. On California licenses, for example, the cardholder’s signature is now printed using raised lettering. You can run your thumb across it and feel the lettering.
    • On North Carolina licenses, you can feel the date of birth, which is laser engraved.[6]Kitchens 't With Ghost Your Modern Business Don Growing Afraid Be 8wRxqqAH
  6. 6
    Scan the barcode. The barcode contains information which should match the information on the front of the card. [7] Most forgers cannot encode the information because it is too expensive. Scan the barcode and see if any information has been encoded and whether it matches the information on the front.
    • There’s also an app you can use: BarZapp. The app only costs a couple of dollars and can be downloaded onto your smart phone.[8]
  7. 7
    Tilt the card in the light. Some cards have security features that are only visible from certain angles. For example, you can check for an image overlay by tilting the card. Fake Ids On Crack Down Owners Bar wxC4qzv
    • The card might also have the state name that is visible when you tilt the card toward the light. For example, on an Illinois driver’s license, the state name shows up in diagonal across the front of the card.
  8. 8
    Search for misspellings on the identification card. You can spot a forgery if the I.D. contains a misspelling, such as using the wrong abbreviation for the state. Any I.D. with a misspelling is not legitimate.
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Part 2
Studying the Cardholder

  1. 1
    Look for signs of anxiety. Be suspicious if the cardholder avoids eye contact, is shaking, or otherwise looks nervous. This may be the first time they’ve tried to use a fake I.D. and could fear getting caught.
    • Other signs of lying include pursing their lips or touching their face as they talk.[10]
    • If the person is right-handed, then they will usually look to the right when they tell a lie.
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  3. 2
    Compare the physical description to the cardholder. A driver’s license and other I.D.s should include a physical description that includes height, age, eye color, and weight. Check that the person handing over the I.D. matches the description.
    • It can be difficult to judge height in the abstract. However, compare the person to your own height. If you’re 5’6” and the cardholder is allegedly 5’8”, then they should be close to your height.
  4. 3
    Compare the picture to the person. The I.D. should also have a picture. Analyze whether the person looks remotely like the person handing you the I.D.. Although the picture may be a few years old, the person should look generally the same.
    • Instead of focusing on someone’s hairstyle, look at those features that don’t change: nose, ears, eyes, and chin.[11]
    • Be suspicious if they look exactly like the picture or are wearing the same clothing. This indicates they made the fake I.D. recently.
  5. 4
    Compare signatures. If the cardholder is signing for something, compare the signatures. If they don’t match, then the I.D. is probably fake. [12]
    • You might suspect someone buying alcohol or cigarettes is using a fake I.D.. In that situation, ask them for their signature and then compare it.
    • Sometimes, people will accidentally sign their real name, so this is a good test.[13]
  6. 5
    Ask the cardholder questions. As you’re holding the card, ask the cardholder questions about the information that appears on it. For example, you should ask them their date of birth. [14] If they can’t remember, then the I.D. is fake.
    • You can also ask them their middle name or year they graduated high school. If they hesitate, then they may be using a fake I.D.
    • If a companion is with the cardholder, quickly ask them the cardholder’s name. If they hesitate, they could be lying.
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  7. 6
    Ask for a second form of photo identification. Someone might spend a lot of money to get 1 fake I.D. However, they probably don’t have 2. Ask to see a second photo I.D. If the person can’t produce 1, then the I.D. might be fake.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    If a man is shirtless in a driver's license photo, does that mean it is fake?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Considering legit IDs are made at the DMV or DPS offices and therefore require shirts, more than likely it is a fake ID and cause for further suspicion and inspection of the ID.
  • Question
    How would you know if someone is using a fake I.D?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you are talking to that person, try asking him/her questions about the details on the card. Someone stumbling over their birthday is a good indication.
  • Question
    Are out of state IDs accepted for being served alcohol?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, out of state IDs are accepted. However, if you do not live in a city or a college town, the person serving you alcohol may be suspicious that you have a fake ID.
  • Alphacard All Printers Id Photo View From Question
    If a flashlight is held close to a driver's license, will the light shine through to the other side?
    Anna Meters
    Community Answer
    If you hold a flashlight close to the magnetic strip of an ID and it shines through, most likely it's a fake. The magnetic strip blocks most light.
  • Question
    Does the expiration date always match the date of the birthday of the card holder?
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    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, it depends on the state. Some states do. In others it just expires on the issue day a certain number of years later.
  • Question
    Can a fake license be torn or maybe blurred?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Since the DMV uses a single sheet of PVC, there shouldn't be any tears in the ID. It can, however, be smudged from use or slightly discolored.
  • Question
    Someone from Illinois has submitted their driver's license to me. His last name starts with an "A," but his driver's license number starts with an "N" - does this mean it's a fake?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Printers All View Photo Id Alphacard From I believe that if the person has had a name change after getting their first license that this is possible.
  • Question
    Is a driver's license the only acceptable form of ID?
    wikiHow Contributor
    All View Alphacard Printers Photo From Id Community Answer
    Many places will only accept certain types of ID. A casino, for example, will only take a passport (or passport card), US issued drivers license, military ID card, or government issued ID card. The acceptable types of IDs will vary by situation, location, etc.
  • Question
    Can a California driver's license have Hawaii address?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It wouldn't be possible, no. When you move states, you have to notify the DMV within 10 days of an address change. If someone moved from Hawaii to California, they wouldn't have a Hawaii address.
  • Violence Archive Gun Incident Incident Gun wqOBXRq
    Does an American driver's license ever show the date of birth as day/month/year?
    Jay Tang
    Community Answer
    Yes, they do. All licenses in the USA states shows your DOB in the DD/MM/YYYY format.
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    • Don’t confiscate a fake I.D.. Only law enforcement can do this. However, you may call the police and hold onto the I.D. until the police arrive.[15]
    • Remember that it is illegal to make a sale to someone with an expired I.D., even if it is a legitimate I.D.. Accordingly, always check the expiration date.

    Article Info

    Categories: Law Enforcement

    In other languages:

    Español: detectar una identificación falsa, Italiano: Bar With Fake Tables Seized Ids Decorates Funny Their TTrx6g, Português: Reconhecer uma Identidade Falsa, Русский: распознать поддельный I.D., Deutsch: Einen gefälschten Führerschein erkennen

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