Fake ID incidents proliferate police blotters

Since the drinking age in Minnesota changed from 19 to 21 in 1985, even more underage University students have enhanced their social lives by obtaining fraudulent forms of identification.
Not everyone gets away with it.
Sunday night, a drunken passenger of a drunken driver provided University Police with a fabricated Colorado license. The Minnesota man, 20, was charged with providing false information, possession of a false ID card and minor consumption.
Around the University, these type of fake identification cards pop up regularly.
At Fowl Play sports bar in Dinkytown, manager Matt Tebbutt laid seven different confiscated licenses on the bar.
“These are the real obvious fakes,” he said as he looked over the seized cards.
A fake Wyoming license sat on the bar in front of Tebbutt. Far too puffy to be the credit card type of identification it is supposed to be, it was actually splitting in two where it had been poorly laminated together.
Tebbutt said the counterfeit was easy to spot because each state has different Social Security prefix numbers. The number on the Wyoming license corresponded to Louisiana.
Fake identification is also an issue at universities across the country. On Tuesday, New Jersey police broke up a $1.9 million fake card operation that used sophisticated computers. The ring supplied cards to thousands of students at 34 East Coast universities.
Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Dana Smyser said producing quality fake cards is easy with today’s technology.
“Any amateur hack can become a fraudulent ID maker,” Smyser said. “Some make a profession in pursuit of it.”
Tebbutt said that for a while, somebody was making several Wyoming drivers’ licences. The cards showed up at Fowl Play many times, but the incidences have tapered off.
Smyser said most people who manufacture fake identification cards in Minnesota make IDs from other states for a couple of reasons. First, the Minnesota driver’s license is very hard to copy. It is a hard plastic card with raised numbers for the license number. Second, merchants who check the cards are more familiar with the Minnesota form of identification and can easily pick out any inconsistencies.
But Smyser said it is very hard to follow a trail of fakes back to the person who originally made them, so police usually try to get the people who buy them. These people can be charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. These charges carry a penalty of one year in prison or a fine of up to $3,000 or both.
One University student found another way to obtain a fraudulent Minnesota card. She contacted a another student who told her he would provide her with a false birth certificate for $100. She asked not to be named for this story because she plans to turn in the person who supplied her with the information.
The certificate had a false name and birth date on it.
She then took the certificate to the Department of Motor Vehicles and applied for a state card. She said she didn’t apply for a driver’s license because that would require a Social Security number.
“It really doesn’t take much to get an altered birth certificate,” Smyser said. “They are public record. Anyone can get one.”
“Some of these are good,” Tebbutt said. “People make it through, no doubt about it.”