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FAKE IDs: Technology fooling even the trained eye

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Fake IDs have been fooling bouncers and bartenders for decades. But technology is now making it harder than ever to know what's real and what's not.

Twenty-year-old "Ray" said he uses a fake ID to buy booze.

"The night doesn't end when you have a fake ID" he said.

"Ray" ordered a $60 ID online from China.

"This girl collected all our money and she transferred it in Bitcoin and then she sent it through Bitcoin," he said. "A month-and-a-half, maybe two months, and it came in a package with a bunch of chopsticks."

News 4 ordered an ID from another company in China. The online company said to snap a picture, send in some personal information and wire $100 through Western Union.

In about a month, two IDs arrived. They were hidden inside a cheap plastic picture frame. The quality of the ID was unbelievable. They looked like the real thing.

Both IDs had a lot of security features on them, like holograms, the REAL ID symbol on it, a barcode, a magnetic strip and the embedded state of Nevada outline that's inside the plastic that can only be seen with a flashlight.

Bartender Charlie Gray works at Redwood Rotisserie and Grill in Reno. He cards anyone who looks under 40 years old.

"You're looking to make sure that it's valid, that the expiration date is still current," he said.

Gray received the state training to serve alcohol. He knows what to watch out for when looking for a fake ID. He cards a lot of people and has seen a lot of IDs, including a few fake ones. He was surprised by the quality of it.

"I think overall that's a pretty good replication," he said. "This would probably pass at a mom and a pop kind of bar. They've even got the holograms in there, and if you're looking it's even got the Nevada symbol around the face. There's a lot of features in here."

Gray noticed that the ID's font was a bit off and the plastic felt a bit different.

Reno Police Officer Tim Broadway was also amazed by the quality of the fake ID.

"It's very shocking," he said.

Broadway was even more surprised when he was able to pull up information when he scanned the barcode on the back of the fake ID. But when he called the records department at the Reno Police Department to search the driver's license number on the fake ID, nothing came up.

That's because those records are tied to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Broadway was quick to point out that the font was different than a real ID. But he admitted that it would probably pass at some bars.

Police say it's very hard to track and crack down on the overseas companies making these IDs.

"A lot of these solicitors and internet sites are foreign-based, and it's very difficult for local and federal law enforcement agencies to enforce those, any type of law violations on those people," Broadway said.

It is a misdemeanor crime to get caught using a fake ID.

"Ray" said he's not at all concerned about getting caught using his fake ID.

"Definitely not," he said.

Ray's already had one fake ID taken.

"[The bouncer] just took all of our IDs and told us to leave," he said.

Officer Broadway said in a college city and a 24-hour gambling town, officers know fake IDs are out there. Typically, they get a call from a casino or a security officer from a bar or restaurant with a suspicious ID.

Broadway has a stash of fake IDs. He said half of the fake IDs falsify an age and the other half lie about immigration status.

"We are concerned about how these IDs, these fake IDs are starting to transition into our community," Broadway said.

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