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The Dangers of Fake IDs

The Dangers of Fake IDs

“Does anyone know how strict they are with fake IDs?” I paused for a second before re-scrolling back up to the post that had caught my attention. Sure enough, it was still there.

On a closed Facebook group page, someone was asking about a restaurant nearby.

Inquiring about their Taco Tuesday specials, one person ended the series of questions with one about fake IDs. Someone wanted to know the chances of getting caught under the age of 21 using a fake ID to order alcohol at the restaurant.

I was surprised when I read it. At first, I shocked to see that someone was so openly asking and implying that they were willing to use a fake ID. And I was then surprised by the number of responses the question got.

Several people commented and claimed that they had used fake IDs at the restaurant many times. Some said they had used one there the week before. Others declared that this specific person had nothing to worry about.

Fake ID Culture

To many people, fake IDs are an American rite of passage. With the legal drinking age being 21, fake IDs seem like an easy way for teens to buy the alcohol. But many of these teens don’t know the dangers that come with having a fake ID.

As a parent, it’s your job to make sure that your teen knows the impact that underage drinking can have on their life. While this includes talking about things like binge drinking it also covers topics like fake IDs.

To help you get started, we answered some common questions that people have about using false identification to get alcohol.

What are the legal consequences for a teen that is caught using a fake ID to buy alcohol?

The first thing to talk about with your teenager is that it is illegal for them to drink it or buy it from restaurants or stores in the state of Missouri.

The legal drinking age is 21 so if they are caught drinking underage they can get a misdemeanor known as an MIP (Minor in Possession). If that teen also uses a fake ID to buy the alcohol, there are even more ways they can get in trouble.

In Missouri, using a fake ID can result in a misdemeanor charge as well as a fine of $500 for every infraction. Additionally, if the teen is under the age of 17 their record may show that they are a ‘delinquent child’.

Why should I worry about if my teen uses a fake ID?

If the legal consequences aren’t enough to deter your teen from using a fake ID, there are a few other things to worry about with using one.

For starters, before they even use one, ordering a fake ID your teen is putting themselves at risk for identity theft.

According to the New York Times, some students choose to buy their IDs from overseas. These students are sending important personal information to complete strangers.

Oftentimes the people forging the documents will ask for anything from a name and birthdate to a photo of them. This information can then be stolen and misused halfway across the world.

This danger can’t be avoided either. The same concerns can be raised if a teen choose to buy their fake IDs locally.

Both also present the risk of losing money. Many fake ID suppliers will oftentimes change emails and their contact information suddenly. By doing this, they’re better able to avoid being tracked down by the authorities.

Parents should also be aware that a strong correlation exists between fake IDs and the tendency to drink in excess or binge drink. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, if a student does have a fake ID they are more like to binge drink. This pattern only seems to increase over time.

What about making fake IDs?

If your teen isn’t using fake IDs, but is using their awesome Photoshop skills to make them for their friends, they can still get into legal trouble. Creating and selling fake IDs is a class A misdemeanor.

A class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail or a large fine.

How can I discourage fake IDs in my home?

The first thing that you can do is start conversations with your teen. Make sure they know the laws behind underage drinking and the consequences of using a fake ID to get alcohol. Your voice is one of the most influential ones that your teen hears, so make sure to keep communication open.

You can also discourage a passive acceptance of fake IDs and underage drinking. If your student mentions a peer getting in trouble for using one, use it as a teaching opportunity. Ask them questions about what they think about the situation and teach them the laws that in place.

Going another step, you can discourage jokes about fake IDs in your home. Many teens today will joke about dangerous things like drunk driving and underage drinking. When topics like this come up in conversation with your teen, make sure that they understand the reality of the topic.

It can also be important to make sure that you or other adults in your teenager’s life don’t make light of such serious topics too.

If you do find a fake ID in your student’s belongings, talk with your teen. Make sure that you approach them in a way that isn’t confrontational. Avoid accusing them.

Instead, have a calm conversation and ask them why they have it and what they plan to do with it. Then you can let them know the problems that may arise if they were to use it or try to use one in the future. At the end of the conversation, you can help them cut it up.

Changing the Culture

Some students around the United States and in Missouri feel the need to get a fake ID. For many this desire may come from wanting to try alcohol, others may feel pressure to get them from friends.

The best way that you can make sure that your teen isn’t tempted to make or buy a fake ID is by talking with them. Let them know what the consequences are for having one and keep your boundaries on underage drinking clear for them.

Make sure to also remind your teen that most high school students don’t drink. Encourage them to surround themselves with friends who encourage them to take part in healthy activities.

Your voice, no matter how old your teen is, is important. By starting your conversations about underage drinking and fake IDs early, you set them up for success.

As they move through high school and beyond, your conversations can equip them to make safe choices throughout their future.

Kaitlyn Inman
kaitlyn@missourisafeandsober.com
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