-by Larkin Reilly
Underage drinking is deeply rooted in American society, and fake identification makes it easier for teenagers to access the alcohol they desire. Whether borrowed, stolen, forged, or made, fake IDs are increasingly easy for young adults to get their hands on. It is reported that 60% of college students drink alcohol, thus creating a high demand for fake identification production. [i] Fake IDs have plagued college campuses for decades. However, the technology we are blessed with in today’s day and age helps an online plethora of anonymously owned fake identification producing businesses. The ordering and importing of fake identification is a process most young adults find normal, despite the illegality. Because of the recent advancement in technology, young college students hold the ability to order and receive fake identification in just several clicks.
A singular man sits behind the online fake ID vending system, and his name is the IDGod. [ii] Both the name of the vendor and a real person, IDGod is common known among college students. While this coined nickname might make some chuckle, the faceless IDGod’s ability to make, process, and ship fake IDs all across the world turned him into a wealthy businessman. IDGod grew out of the termination of IDChief, another undercover business that kick-started the online sales prototype for the fake ID market. [iii] The anonymous technology guru expanded out of the model, improving upon the details. IDGod is now “The #1 trusted fake ID website worldwide.” [iv] Located somewhere in China, the mastermind behind the popular business thrives on producing and selling high quality fake IDs at generally affordable prices. The annual income from online sales of fake identification can exceed $1,000,000 for a single operator, and some fake ID sites, such as IDGod, report receiving over 10,000 inquiries on a single day. [v] IDGod sells customers two identical IDs for $100-$200, based on the state you choose. However, the novelty ID service lets customers make group orders with friends, therefore lowering the price of ID per person. The site is simple and easy to understand, with the slogan “Get your new ID. Be part of the crowd!” plastered on the home page. [vi] After ordering fake identification off the IDGod website, the order is processed and produced, and shipped in a couple of weeks.
Young adults who order fake IDs entrust their private information to sites and pay using a virtual currency system called Bitcoin. This transaction service made up of digital “bitcoins” helps keep the customer and IDGod untraceable through the payment process. [vii] While sites started using digital currency applications such as Bitcoin to erase their tracks, the shipping process seems a more difficult beast to tackle. Most producers of fake identification ship their products to the United States in a decoy package of random items. Many send the IDs in the bottom of a box full of chopsticks, while other producers are known for hiding the IDs underneath the felt flap of a jewelry case, where you’d typically find a necklace or ring. The masterminds behind these sites and orders, including IDGod, send these packages in hopes that their products will not be seized by Border Protection Officers when it reaches the States.
The decoy packages, however, don’t always work, especially for larger orders. Just last month, 500 fake identification cards were stopped in Pennsylvania City by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers. Half of the IDs were shipped from Canada and the other half from China. The agency claims to have “seized licenses from more than 20 states.” [viii] The IDs were disguised in jewelry boxes and in packages of fake tea sets. CBP Officers were curious as to why hundreds of cheap jewelry boxes and tea sets were being shipped to a college town, thus resulting in the packages’ inspection. According to The New York Times, watch commanders at international airports are also on high alert for decoys during the summer months, a time when students stock up on their “school supplies.” [ix] Despite the multiple seizures of IDs each year, most orders successfully reach the young adults all across the United States.
Bars and restaurants in college towns are notorious for allowing fake identification to fly. In fact, less than 20 of the 50 states mandate training for anyone who sells and serves alcohol and nearly half of those states do not mention ID checking as part of the required curriculum. [x] Bouncers and bartenders across America remain improperly trained to spot fakes. Given the speed at which fake IDs are being produced and developed, bars and restaurants can’t begin to tell the difference, especially since their training is lacking. The fake IDs flooding the market today are so sophisticated that they are even fooling high tech scanners.
While high quality IDs tend to fool bouncers and bartenders, many allow obvious underage drinkers access. The constant flow of party-ready freshman pouring onto campus each year calls for never-ending business for the most popular drinking spots in town. Bouncers know that underage kids will spend large amounts of money if allowed into the bar with their fake ID, even if it puts risk on the bar or restaurant’s liquor license. According to “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research” by Amelia M. Arria, 66.1 percent of current and previous college students used a fake ID at least once in their college career. [xi] The desire to party as a young college student in a college bar scene has always been high, and for obvious reason. Underage students figure they may as well attempt to get into the bar, in hopes that the bouncer doesn’t look too closely at the details.
While bartenders and bouncers may be lenient when it comes to underage drinking, there are new guys in town ready to bust the daring freshman. For example, in the college town of Bloomington, Indiana, excise officers, also known as Indiana alcohol law enforcers, have begun to work closely with Bloomington establishments in the past two years. These officers are brought into bars to not only catch underage drinkers in the act, but to educate the employees that have not had proper detection training. Just last year, 62 minors were busted at Bluebird Nightclub in Bloomington for ID-related charges over three consecutive weeks. Several had even gotten into the bar and were also charged with minor in possession/consumption charges. The use of fake IDs is rampant in Bloomington, and it is proven through weekly arrest reports that excise cops have never been busier.
Coined as a “campus accessory,” fake identification cards are a common topic in college life. With friends constantly wanting to go to bars, the idea of partaking in the illicit activity is not a foreign thought. High quality IDs are as easy to get as a pair of jeans you order online (see Appendix–My Hypothetical Situation). As technology continues to advance, fake IDs are going to become even more believable and harder to tell apart from the real deal.
Appendix-My Hypothetical Situation:
I want a fake ID because all of my friends have already turned 21. My birthday isn’t until May! If I don’t order one, I won’t be able to go to the Kilroy’s with them this school year.
The ordering process:
Step 1: Go to www.idgod.ph.
Step 2: Pick a state for the ID (IDGod offers 16 out of the 50 states for production).
Step 3: Enter the information I want on my fake ID (height, eye color, address), as well as my picture (a headshot that must be taken against a white background that does not reflect light), and a picture of my signature.
Step 4: Pay using Bitcoin. The prices will vary depending on whether or not I order with a group of people. Anywhere between $50-$100 for two IDs.
The ordering process is now complete. This process would typically take only about 20 minutes.
The production process:
Step 1: IDGod receives my order.
Step 2: Production begins on my two IDs in China. They are made to be scannable and to pass the backlight test.
Step 3: A few weeks later, my IDs are packaged and ready for shipping.
The production process is now complete.
The shipping process:
Step 1: IDGod ships my IDs in either a box of chopsticks, a jewelry box, or in any other type of compartment.
Step 2: The package reaches the United States Border (let’s say it doesn’t get stopped by Customs and Border Protection Officers).
Step 3: The package is cleared for shipping to Bloomington, Indiana.
Step 4: Three weeks after ordering my IDs, the package arrives at my address.
The shipping process is now complete. This process could of course go differently if the package was seized through international air cargo.
The USING process:
Step 1: I open the package to find a box of chopsticks. I find the secret compartment in the bottom containing the IDs.
Step 2: My girlfriends and I get ready for a night out on the town.
Step 3: We show up at Kilroy’s and wait in the infamously long line.
Step 4: I present my ID to the bouncer at the door. He will either accept or not accept my ID (we will say he did).
Step 5: I am able to party with my off-age friends, all thanks to IDGod.
The using process never stops… until 21 of course!
The ID production stems from China. We are unable to establish where most IDs are produced, as sellers try to remain as underground as possible.
If the ID, stored in its decoy package, passes through Border Protection, the product should have no issue arriving to the customer.
[i] National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. College Drinking.
[ii]: C. Brian Smith: There is a fake IDGod, and he lives in China
[iii]: D.O. Genez: Major Fake ID Marketplace Shutdown https://www.idsecuritynow.org/fake-id- marketplace-shutdown.html
[v] United States Senate, 106th Congress, 2nd Session. Hearing before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the Committee of Governmental Affairs, Statement of Special Agent David C. Myers, Identification Fraud Coordinator, Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Fraudulent Identification Unit.
[vii]: Dani Blum: Fake It Til You Make It https://www.34st.com/article/2015/11/fake-ids-at-penn
[viii]: Elizabeth Zwriz, Fox News
[ix]: Oren Fliegelman: Made in China: Fake IDs, The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/ 2015/02/08/education/edlife/fake-ids-or-why-would-a-student-order-a-tea-set.html
[x]Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. (2018). TTB Regulated Industries. https:// www.ttb.gov/
[xi]: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research by Amelia M. Arria.
[xii]: Ellie Conley https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/what-happens-get-caught-with-a-fake-id