How to Spot a Fake ID

Catch a fake ID by using the F.L.A.G. system.

How to Spot a Fake ID

Every 2 seconds, an identity is stolen in the United States, and 46 percent of all identity theft crimes are committed with a fake ID.

F Stands for ‘Feel’

There are some tactile security features you should be able to feel. First, do not accept an ID shown to you from inside a wallet window slot, which prevents you from touching it. Have the person take his or her ID out of their wallet so you can feel it.

When you are holding it in your hands, be mindful that ID thieves have learned to counterfeit some tactile features. Fortunately, the quality of these features is below state-issued identification cards. As you can see in this example, on the counterfeit ID, the suspects placed clear glue on top to give it the tactile feeling.  Focus on quality.

L Is for ‘Look”

Look at the picture. Is the person standing in front of you the same person in the ID picture? This is very subjective. You will need to focus on the “Triangle of Recognition” area of the face (eyes, ears, nose, mouth and chin). Here is what the “Triangle of Recognition” looks like. Unless the person has had plastic surgery, these areas will not change dramatically over a period of time.

Hair, eye brows, eye color and facial hair can be changed. Faces can get thinner or heavier with weight gain or loss. However, the position of the ears and eyes will not usually change. Look for a difference that can’t be explained. For example, if the person standing in front of you has a dimple on the chin, but there is no dimple seen in the photo ID, then this should be considered a red flag. Dimple implant surgery is not a logical explanation.

Additionally, look at the signature. You do not have to be a handwriting expert to recognize a major difference in the signature on the card and on a document you have them sign in front of you. Can a person’s signature vary? Yes, but it could also be dramatically different because that person is using an ID that does not belong to them.

A Is for ‘Ask’

Bouncers at bars are good at asking questions and catching the fake ID holder in a lie. For example, the fake ID will probably have a fake date of birth. This new fake birth date might fall under a different Zodiac sign than the suspect’s real birth date Zodiac sign. You might ask the suspect “What is your Zodiac sign?” The suspect might know his fake date of birth because he memorized it but probably won’t know his new Zodiac sign.

G Is for ‘Give It Back or Give It to the Police’

If you have checked all the security features to the best your ability and believe that the person in front of you is the same person in the picture, give the card back to them and continue doing business with them. If you believe you have a fake ID, you can seize the card.

I advise everyone at my seminars not to get into the business of confiscating fake IDs and possibly be assaulted over it. I do suggest that you photocopy the ID card if you can and return it to the suspect. Also, are you in a safe environment (your office with fellow employees vs. the suspect’s house)? Can you ask for a secondary form of ID if you are not sure? If you want to file a fraud crime report afterward, the photocopy of the ID will be very helpful to the police investigation.

These Steps Are Just a Start

Every 2 seconds, an identity is stolen in the United States, reports CNN. Additionally, 46 percent of all identity theft crimes are committed with a fake ID. If every industry were trained how to spot a phony identification card, almost half of the identity theft crimes would be stopped.

The police can’t investigate every identity theft crime and recover your loss. However, you can take the steps to train your staff or employees and protect yourself and your campus. Or, you can continue to ask for IDs and blindly accept them as real. But if you get fooled and become another victim, shame on you.

Glen Garrity is a retired 21-year police detective and founder of G2 Safeguards, He can be contacted at

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5 responses to “How to Spot a Fake ID”

  1. Rick says:

    LaserCards, who makes the US green card, made me the first “green card authenticator”. It would read limited info on the green card; if it didn’t read, the optical strip was either damaged or the card was a fake. If it got stuck in the machine or wouldn’t eject properly, it was a fake. It removes the guess work and saves time in training multiple people how to identify fake green cards.

  2. andrew blogg says:

    I agree with the author.. still so many fake id websites operating with impunity.. for example.. so disgusting

  3. Irene says:

    Fake id is probably the hardest part in the methodology. The rest of the steps are easy I personally suggest using fake id service like FakeYourID for a nice counterfeit license and then follow the rest of the steps. Instagram and Facebook have implemented the use of verifying digital ids for people but you can get that from the service mentioned as well and that too at a cheaper price.

  4. Fake ID says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share this article here about the Fake ID. Really I agree with you, The use of F.L.A.G system is very helpful to caught a fake ID. Keep sharing this type of articles here.

  5. Best Printer says:

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I’d by no means understand.
    It kind of feels too complex and extremely vast for me. I am having a look ahead on your next put up,
    I’ll try to get the grasp of it!

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