The fake ID has been a popular purchase for decades among Americans younger than the drinking age. Many entrepreneurs have stories of creating a successful fake-ID business on college campuses (it’s illegal, but it’s lucrative), because as long as there have been rules, there have been people looking to break them.
To no one’s surprise, the industry has moved online, with young Americans ordering fake IDs much the same way they would buy red plastic cups in bulk off Amazon.com: fill out a form and click to buy — done. However, sending your personal information to a fake ID business isn’t exactly the same thing as entering your credit card information on a reputable merchant’s website. Sure, anything can be compromised, but asking a stranger in a foreign country to manufacture an identifying document for you opens the door to someone stealing your identity.
It’s a matter of concern, according to a news report out of DePere, Wis., where police have noticed the trend of college students buying fake IDs from China-based ID Chief. Buyers share their legitimate driver’s licenses with the ID seller, pay hundreds of dollars and, in about a week, have a fraudulent duplicate of their license, showing their age as 21.
The site advertises IDs with security features like holograms and scannable barcodes, making them more attractive to teens afraid of getting caught.
Of course, the thing they’re probably not worried about (and should be) is what happens to their personal information after the company manufactures their fake IDs. It’s not a good idea take your photo, signature, birthdate, full name, eye color and address, send it off to oblivion and carry on without concern. It can take years to recover from identity theft and the damage it can do to your finances and credit standing, which is going to be significantly less enjoyable than not having access to bars for a few years. Here are some things you can do to help yourself if your identity is stolen.
The good thing to do here is just not buy a fake ID online (or give anyone all that information, really), but if you’ve already gone down that path, it would be smart to keep tabs on your credit reports and scores. You can get your annual credit reports for free and two credit scores for free every 30 days on Credit.com. If you find unauthorized accounts in your name, you’ll probably know why.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- 3 Dumb Things You Can Do With Email
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?