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What to do when you catch a fake ID?

Fake ID alert pop-up from VeriScan for Android

Last updated on January 30th, 2024 at 10:16 am

So your ID scanning software flagged an ID as fake. What do you do now?

When can a server seize a fake ID?

When a business identifies a fake ID, the first and most crucial step is to deny entry or service to the individual presenting the fraudulent identification. Politely and discreetly inform the patron that their ID appears to be fake or invalid, and that they cannot be accommodated. It is essential to handle the situation with professionalism and courtesy to avoid potential confrontations or conflicts. Businesses should have a clear and consistent policy in place for handling such incidents, ensuring that all staff members are aware of the protocol. However, whether or not a business, or employee of that business should seize the fake ID depends on state regulations.

Can a bartender or security guard legally take your ID?

It depends. See our list of state-by-state regulations below.

What if the individual maintains that their ID is real?

Depending on what type of software you use, you may have opportunities to escalate the examination of the ID.

  • ID authentication can perform a deeper check on the ID, looking at holograms and watermarks to provide confidence in its legitimacy. If an ID is being flagged by a handheld ID scanner you may want to run it through your authentication station to see if the ID passes.
  • Third party checks can also provide an additional layer of security. You can trigger an a la carte check inside VeriScan which will query the ID against data sources such as the DMV and social security administration. This will tell you if the information on the ID matches the information the issuing jurisdiction has on the individual.
  • Some states (Idaho, North Dakota, Connecticut) allow patrons to sign a sworn affidavit saying they are of-age, which is then saved along with a photocopy of their ID. This can be used later as proof that your business did everything possible to verify age and identity before serving the guest.

Keep in mind that none of these checks will flag if an individual is using a real ID that belongs to someone else (an older sibling or friend). Your security team will need to visually check the ID photo and match it to the person presenting the ID to prevent usage of false IDs.

Should I confiscate a fake ID?

The laws on whether or not you should confiscate an ID vary by state. Below is a quick guide to the laws in each state. Most states have a firm directive on whether a business is allowed to take the physical ID from the individual.

AlabamaYou may not confiscate a fake ID
AlaskaYou may confiscate a fake ID and remit the ID to law enforcement
ArizonaYou may confiscate a fake ID
ArkansasYou may not confiscate a fake ID
CaliforniaYou may confiscate a fake ID but must provide a receipt to the individual who presented the document. You have 24 hours to remit the ID to law enforcement.
ColoradoYou may confiscate the ID
ConnecticutYou may not confiscate a fake ID. Instead, a guest must sign a sworn statement that they are of-age, and have their ID photocopied, which can provide an affirmative defense if the business is charged with serving a minor.
DelawareNo guidelines
FloridaYou may not confiscate a fake ID but you may notify law enforcement
GeorgiaYou may confiscate a fake ID if you report it to law enforcement
HawaiiYou may confiscate a fake ID
IdahoYou may confiscate the ID and remit the ID to the state ABC
IllinoisYou may, but are not required to, confiscate a fake ID
IndianaYou may not confiscate a fake ID. Instead, a guest must sign a sworn statement that they are of-age.
IowaYou may confiscate a fake ID but must provide a receipt to the individual who presented the document. You have 24 hours to remit the ID to law enforcement.
KansasYou may not confiscate a fake ID
KentuckyYou may confiscate a fake ID
LouisianaNo guidelines, but notifying law enforcement is recommended
MaineYou may confiscate and retain a fake ID with cause
MarylandYou may not confiscate a fake ID
MassachusettsNo guidelines
MichiganYou may confiscate a fake ID
MinnesotaYou may confiscate a fake ID and remit to law enforcement
MississippiNo guidelines
MissouriYou may confiscate a fake ID
MontanaYou may confiscate a fake ID
NebraskaYou may confiscate a fake ID
NevadaRegulated at the county level
New HampshireYou may confiscate a fake ID and notify law enforcement
New JerseyYou may, but are not required to, confiscate a fake ID
New MexicoYou may, but are not required to, confiscate a fake ID
New YorkYou may not confiscate a fake ID but should notify law enforcement
North CarolinaYou may confiscate a fake ID
North DakotaYou may not confiscate a fake ID. Instead a guest must sign a sworn statement that they are of-age.
OhioNo guidelines
OklahomaYou may confiscate a fake ID and notify law enforcement
OregonNo guidelines
Pennsylvania
Rhode IslandYou may confiscate a fake ID
South CarolinaNo guidelines
South DakotaNo guidelines
TennesseeYou may not confiscate a fake ID but should notify the state ABC
TexasNo guidelines
UtahNo guidelines
VermontNo guidelines
VirginiaYou may not confiscate a fake ID but should notify the state ABC
WashingtonYou may not confiscate a fake ID
West VirginiaNo guidelines
WisconsinYou may confiscate a fake ID and notify law enforcement
WyomingNo guidelines
Washington D.C.You may not confiscate a fake ID

Should I contact law enforcement when I catch a fake ID?

After denying entry or service, and upon seizing a fake ID, it is strongly recommended that the business promptly report the incident to local law enforcement. Providing authorities with the fake ID and any additional information about the individual can assist in tracking and addressing illegal activity. Cooperation with law enforcement helps maintain public safety and may deter others from attempting to use counterfeit identification in the area. In some cases, local regulations may require businesses to report such incidents, and failure to do so can result in legal consequences for the establishment. This ensures there is an iron-clad paper trail showing your business is doing everything it can to avoid serving minors. It also helps law enforcement more effectively manage programs that combat the overall usage of fakes, and supports programs like grants for security technology and ID scanning.

When must a fake ID be turned over to law enforcement?

Some states mandate that confiscated IDs must be remitted to law enforcement, usually within a 24-hour period. However, in practice we find that most law enforcement agencies are more lax and are happy to receive stacks of IDs on a weekly or monthly basis. Typically, law enforcement is called when a customer becomes belligerent or aggressive after their fake ID is flagged or confiscated, or if a minor appears dangerously intoxicated. Consult your state regulations on when you should turn over fake IDs to law enforcement.

If you have questions related to age verification, or seizure fake IDs, we’re happy to recommend a solution that can keep your business compliant. Contact us today.