How To Spot A Fake ID Every Time

Written by on July 19, 2013 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page


drivers licenseIf it’s up to you to check the IDs of patrons in your work, then you need to know how to spot the tell-tale signs that an ID is fake or has been tampered with.

These are essential skills for bouncers, cinema workers, bar staff, shop keepers, security officers or anyone else who has to know for certain that what they’ve been presented with is the real deal.

Here are some pointers on what you should check:

How does it feel?

If you suspect that the ID might be fake, ask the customer to take it out of their wallet and hand it to you. You will know from your own identification how a genuine card feels in the hand. Is it too light?

Does the card have rough edges? Are there signs of another layer of lamination? Does the photo sit proud from the rest of the card? Is the card coming apart at the edges? All these are signs that the ID has been tampered with.

Does the photo look like the card holder?

This seems like an obvious suggestion but many underage customers have gained access to age-restricted areas by using the card of an elder sibling or family member.

Sure, people’s hair style will change over the years but facially we don’t change that much. If in doubt, ask the person in question to produce another form of ID to confirm their name.

Ask them details from the card

If the card is stolen or being used fraudulently, the cardholder may be caught out if you ask them about specific data from the ID.

Actually, if you ask them for their driving licence number and they recite it perfectly then that’s makes them even more suspicious. Ask for their address, post code or date of birth instead and check how they reply, do they reel them off as if they’ve said them a thousand times before?

And most people would give a number for the month, rather than the name. And then ask them what sign of the zodiac they are, they should know this straight away. Any hesitation suggests that the ID is a fake.

Check the security foils and holograms

If you tilt a driving licence or passport in the light there are background holograms which should show up. Are these there? This is the hardest part of official identification to counterfeit.

If you have scanning equipment then implement that straight away, as forged cards will most likely not scan.

Look at the customer

Do they seem nervous? On edge? If they’re looking anxious, sweating and avoiding eye contact then they probably have something to hide.

Closed body positions such as crossed arms also suggests that the person is lying or trying to use a fake ID, one that does not belong to them or one that was acquired under fraudulent circumstances.

Still unsure? Bluff it

Say that you need to consult a manager or get someone else to have a look for a second opinion. The cardholder will automatically assume that you’ll test it in some way or scrutinise it further.

If the card is fake, they’ll probably want it back straight away and make out like they are fed up of being questioned, if the card is real then the customer should have no problem with you discussing the matter with a second person.

What do you do if you suspect that someone is using a fake ID?

Under British Law, only certain individuals are authorised (such as the Police) to seize suspected fake identity.  You can ask for the customer to hand it over and advise them that if they resist doing so, the Police may be called to investigate.

If someone does hand over a false ID, record it in your incident book and if they refuse, record it anyway with a description of the person. It should then be locked away in a safe place until the Police are ready to collect it or it can be dropped at a Police Station by a manager. This should not be longer than 72 hours.

So there we go, do you have any more tips for spotting a false ID?

Jodie is a creative person and keen blogger. She’s travelled the world and has had her identification scrutinised by officials in many different countries. She writes for IdPro.


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