Can YOU spot the fake ID?
PHILADELPHIA - May 6, 2011 (WPVI) -- They look like real IDs: They have a picture. They have a hologram. They even pass scanner tests.
But now, local authorities are cracking down on a new crop of fake IDs that they say are so convincing... it's possible that even the police can't spot them.
Fake ID's have long posed a challenge for store owners and the parents of underage teens.
But now, state-of-the-art technology is taking the problem to a whole new level.
"I've had it for about two, three months now," said a teen who asked to remain unidentified.
Like so many college aged kids, the local student carries a fake ID, a ticket to places those under 21 aren't allowed, places like Keenan's Irish Pub in North Wildwood.
"It was kind of socially acceptable. But until it hits home, until it starts taking money out of your pocket, and your staff's pocket, it becomes personal," said Scott Keenan.
Almost three years ago, Scott Keenan's bar was raided by authorities looking for fake ID's. They found some, making for Keenan's 4th violation.
Authorities found 8 total fake ID's found inside over several years, a period of time during which nearly a million customers streamed in. It was enough to get his bar closed for 90 days, during peak season.
Keenan took a hit to his bottom line.
"It was just under a million dollars, $900,000," said Keenan.
Keenan doesn't profess to be innocent. He admits the fakes got through his door. But, he says, they got though for good reason. He couldn't spot the fakes.
"My reaction was wow this looks real. I mean it really was convincing," said Trooper Denea Durham of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Trooper Denea Durham is among many officials who are seeing more of fake ID's on the street bought on web sites. One site specializes in selling what it calls "novelty Id's", and pitches them as picture perfect, complete with holograms and bar codes that scan.
That is where our local student and her friends bought their fakes, and they say they have worked pretty much everywhere.
Scott Keenan says that's the problem. Despite bar owners' best efforts to keep fake ID's out, detecting them is getting harder and harder. And the onus is on them, not the people pretending to be someone else.
Nowhere else, he says, does the perpetrator virtually escape punishment.
"A person carrying it would be in violation of a summary violation," saysTrooper Durham, which is an offense less than a misdemeanor.
"If someone goes to Macy's and they use a fake credit card or someone else's credit card, and they get caught, Macy's doesn't get in trouble," says Keenan.
We asked our local student if that argument mattered, if she felt bad about the possibility of getting bar owners in trouble.
"I would feel bad, but I mean at the same time I'm underage, and I want to go have fun."
Scott Keenan is now suing the 8 people whose ID's got him in trouble, hoping to, at least, send message.
Not threatened by what some call leniency from the law, would the threat of a lawsuit make her think twice?
"I would definitely hesitate."
new jersey, pennsylvania, counterfeiting, special reports, brian taff
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