College group targets fake IDs
Bartender Kevin Young spotted two fake IDs one night last week while working at A.C.’s Bar & Grill on King Street.
One was easy to identify as a fake because it was held together with tape. Another was pretty good, until he further examined it and found the word license had been misspelled.
Young said he’s pretty much seen it all when it comes to fake IDs. One even carried the words “caveat emptor” in small print, a move he thinks was an attempt to protect the manufacturer.
A.C’s, near the College of Charleston, tries to prevent customers who are younger than 21 from walking through the doors. The bar, like many other bars and restaurants around the college, now has a large “Fake IDs 101” poster in its front window.
A program at the College of Charleston aimed at preventing underage drinking placed some of the posters in bars last spring. Since students returned this month, it has placed them in restaurants, delis and anywhere alcohol is served near the college, said Sarah Deyhle, a grant coordinator for the college’s Palmetto Initiative for Campus Community Collaboration.
The posters offer a list of possible consequences of using a fake ID, such as a $470 fine, 30 days in jail, the loss of scholarships, a criminal record, mandatory participation in an education program and a suspended driver’s license. The effort is important because the use of fake IDs has increased in recent years, Deyhle said. Statistics she receives regularly from local police show an increase in the number of citations written for people using fake documents, she said.
The posters are paid for with money from a federal grant for programs to prevent underage drinking and offer alternative social activities that don’t involve alcohol, Deyhle said. She hopes they will deter underage customers from even entering the establishments.
Her group also is working with local businesses and the Charleston Police Department to prevent underage drinking, she said. And it’s conducting research to determine if the posters are reducing the number of underage customers who attempt to use a fake ID.
So far, reactions from businesses that have posted the signs have been positive, she said.
Young said he believes most people stop and read the poster before they walk in the doors at A.C.’s.
And he’s glad to send the message that the bar won’t tolerate underage drinking. A.C’s “isn’t known as being upscale,” Young said. “And dive bars have the reputation that anything goes.” The poster makes it clear that’s not true at his establishment, he said.
Deyhle said her group also works to inform business owners and police about the manufacturing of fake IDs. The number of local manufacturers has grown as computer programs to make fake IDs have been developed, she said.
And students also have been ordering them online. Many fake IDs are now made in China and sent to U.S. customers through the mail, she said.
Without a special scanning device, Deyhle said, it can be tough to spot a fake ID “They make them really, really good now.”