CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Cape Girardeau Police and downtown bars are confiscating more fake IDs that are almost identical to legitimate ones made by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Shane McAtee is the general manager of The Library and says many knock-off or 'novelty' ID's they encounter only have a few aspects that are "off."
"I think the ID's are only going to get better and the problem is only going to get worse," McAtee said. "It's important that we stay on top of it and just keep advancing with them."
Lt. Brad Smith overseas special operations for the Cape Girardeau Police Department which includes liquor enforcement. Smith says they're seeing a large influx of high-quality fake ID's being bought online and mailed here from other countries.
"It's your real picture, most of it is your real identification," Smith said. "Newer ones are actually manipulating the magnetic strip in the back so even some of the scanners it will pop up as a legit id because the scanner has been changed."
Smith says sellers of phony IDs can be one step ahead of companies who make scanning technology and that they're motivated to keep improving quality because of profit.
"When you purchase those from overseas, they're not just 20 or 30 bucks you're looking at $100 to $200 per ID," Smith said. "I don't know if you get a group discount if you get a bunch of them but it's just all about economics and money."
If you're unsure if somebody's license is real Smith suggests bars employees do some research in advance, ask for more than one form of ID, and exercise their right to not let them inside.
This year McAtee says The Library has stepped up their training and use of technology to be able to spot more fake IDs. Two devices the bar is using include a barcode scanner that double checks basic information and a black light machine linked to an I.D. database that has information about each state license like U.V. images.
"With that, it also gives us a list of questions we can ask to verify that person is actually the age that is listed on the ID," McAtee said. "Things such as their zodiac sign, or what year they graduated high school. Engage them in a conversation and most of the times they'll slip up and tell you something they probably shouldn't of and that is how you know it's a fake most of the time."
While McAtee thinks their efforts confiscating ID's will deter underage drinkers from coming to their bar, he says not all who are caught stop trying.
"You'd like to think that you're making a good impact, but a lot of times they're so easy to get,"he said. "There are so many out there that these kids are probably going to get more."
Lt. Smith says being caught with a fake ID can lead to paying fines and being charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol and misrepresenting their age.
"Every employer now does a background check on your past, and you come up with a couple violations of this, that could be the difference between getting and not getting a job," Smith said. "So it looks like a good time now but later down the road it could come back to get you."