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Fake identification cards - that is, counterfeit IDs, not legitimate ones obtained through fraud - are becoming a big problem for business and police. There's a booming market for fake IDs, creating dangerous risks to public safety. For example, virtually all of our transit and domestic airline security checks depend on the integrity of driver's licenses and state-issued ID cards.
Overseas websites producing high-quality counterfeits have been on the rise in recent years. These new foreign-produced IDs closely mimic some of the physical security features of our nation's driver's licenses, such as holograms and micro printing.
The counterfeits also include matching information in the bar code on the back of the licenses, making scanning the license to verify its authenticity nearly impossible. They can be purchased for $50 to $200 (discounts are offered if you buy more than one) and are shipped to the United States hidden inside cheap novelties, shoes or games.
Last year, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators wrote the Chinese ambassador requesting his assistance to close a counterfeit ID factory located in China that was exporting its products to the U.S. The website and business was shut down; however, other foreign enterprises are still operating on the same model. Many of the high-quality counterfeits are used to assume or create a new identity. Armed with a high quality counterfeit driver's license in a different name, a criminal could perpetrate a whole host of crimes while moving undetected in the U.S.
Ultimately, the problem is demand. As long as underaged drinkers continue to seek fake IDs, they will create the demand for this product. The demand must be stemmed through education and increased penalties.To Id You Using Things - About Need Reviewfakes Know Fake
In Wisconsin, the minimum fine for using a fake ID is $501. However, it is only a violation and not a misdemeanor or felony (Florida's penalties include up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine). The current penalty fails to deter youngsters or serve as an example to others despite the potentially catastrophic risks.
Enter legislation by state Rep. André Jacque (R-De Pere). The legislation is a strong step because it attacks the real problem: demand.
It also puts a means of enforcement in the hands of businesses which are victimized by the problem. By allowing bar and restaurant owners to sue people who attempt to use a counterfeit, altered ID or someone else's ID to obtain alcohol police don't have to do all the enforcement. Fear of lawsuits should be an important deterrent to youngsters and reduce the demand for counterfeits IDs.
Jacque's legislation will crack down on counterfeit IDs. The Legislature and governor should move quickly to enact it.
Andrew Meehan is policy director for the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, based in Washington, D.C.