Visually Catching a Fake ID

If I don’t have a scanner, how hard is it?

Just how hard is it to visually spot a Fake ID? They come in many forms: borrowed IDs, fake IDs and altered IDs. Here we will discuss all of the checks needed to inspect an ID for authenticity. 

Know the Details of Each State’s ID.

The easiest way people get away with fakes is to use a different state’s ID. The person checking the ID would not be aware if the ID is not up to standards if it is out of state, therefore not realizing it is a fake. To combat this, businesses should keep a record of each state’s past and present ID formats.

Match the Person to the Picture and Description 

With borrowed IDs, it is very common that the user will not match the person on the ID. To combat this a few things need to be checked. 

  • Photo – Do they appear to be the same?
  • Height, weight, age, eye color – Does the description match the person? 
  • Expiration date – Is the ID expired? 
  • Look for the “DUPL” stamp – Is this a duplicate? 
  • Do they know the information – Can they verify personal data? 
  • Have them sign – Do the signatures match? 

Look at the ID from all angles 

This is important because fake IDs commonly have trouble with holograms, as they are very hard to recreate without the proper equipment. In order to check for them, a person must move the ID in all directions, seeing how the top catches the light. There should never be an ID that has all of its holograms visible at once, even with light shining on it. These holograms are designed to go in and out. 

Do a Feel Check on the ID

Altered IDs were once a real ID and typically changed to a different age.  Generally, this would mean that there are raised ridges or shiny spots over the date of birth or “Under Until” dates. There could also be differences in font type and color. To ensure that the ID has not been tampered with the ID must be properly scanned visually and physically. 

Fake IDs are often made with different materials or in different ways, which causes them to act differently than a real ID. There are a few checks that need to be done to ensure the material and other general formatting is accurate.

  •  Bend the ID – if it unravels or buckles it is a fake. 
  • Check the edges – they should be round and unable to peel. 
  • Feel the density of the ID – as all IDs have the same weight and thickness.
  • Check the back of the ID – as fakes are not always made with the back design in high priority. 

Watch the Customer

Body language is often a major tell of a person trying to use a fake, altered or borrowed ID. While performing these checks a person must also take note of the customer. If they are avoiding eye contact, getting stiff, distracting with conversation or using unusual body language, they might be presenting a fake. It is important to be aware of the customers behavior as it can sometimes help inform the clerk, bouncer or bartender of a person using a fake ID. 

Liquor licenses are expensive and often take a long time to obtain. It is always a high priority for a business serving liquor to protect their license, yet most businesses still rely on a visual check. This not only raises the margin for human error but also holds up the line and slows down business. Visually checking IDs is not the most efficient, or even accurate way to catch fake, altered, or borrowed IDs. provides the hardware to scan an ID and the software to display all of the information needed. This allows the clerk, bartender, or bouncer to accurately and consistently check IDs as customers enter. Our technology can check the barcode to ensure that it is working, match the information from the front and back, and notify you if a person has already been banned at the establishment. There is no reason a liquor license should be up to chance; protect your license with the best technology that there is to offer. 


What technology is available from

We offer many solutions that bundle the hardware and software needed for verifying IDs. Both the IDWare 9000 and the Toughbook N1 when paired with VeriScan are the perfect out-of-the-box solution for any ID needs.

How will switching to a technology-based check help my business?

Utilizing today’s technology takes any liability off of your business. There is no hoping that the ID is real and not fake. Scanning the ID will verify age and identity, and allows businesses to prove compliance and create a consistent process.

How accurate is the technology?

We have different tiers of software from basic, to intermediate, to advanced. Each increasing layer has additional tests to increase the likelihood of catching fakes.