by JIM AVILA (@JimAvilaABC) , BRINDA ADHIKARI AND ENJOLI FRANCIS
Aug. 5, 2011
They can arrive in jewelry boxes, playing cards and even inside a game of Chinese checkers — illegal IDs from China, mailed to your waiting teenager.
“They hide [fake IDs] behind things … and inside boxes,” said Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County, Ill. “This is full service. They want to make sure their customers are happy. They are very accommodating.”
One website refers to the fake IDs as “novelty items.”
“The Internet so readily makes these [fake IDs] available that anybody looking for them can find them literally with a quick mouse click,” Dart said.
Working with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and other agencies in Chicago, Dart has confiscated more than 1,700 IDs hidden in boxes arriving from China at the airport in the last six months. Most of them were on their way to 17- to 20-year-olds planning some underage bar-hopping.
Fake IDs: The New Rage
The under-21 crowd says they are the new rage because when the IDs are placed side by side with a legal ID, it’s impossible to tell the difference. Even under ultraviolet light, used by the Transportation Security Administration, the real and fake IDs are indistinguishable.
A 19-year-old Philadelphia student who asked not to be identified said she bought two IDs by sending $100 through Western Union to a person in China whom she’d been e-mailing. She said she knew of more than 20 people who had purchased a fake ID off the Internet.
“They just mail you a children’s toy from China. Once you break it apart, there’s just IDs in there,” she said. “I did it so I can get into bars. For me, it’s worked everywhere I’ve gone.”
Lydia Ruiz said a fake ID wasn’t worth the danger. In February 2009, her son Alex was killed in Berkeley, Calif., by an underage drunken driver carrying a fake ID.
“More access to false IDs ultimately means more death on the roads,” her husband, Michael Ruiz, told ABC News. “There’s no two ways about that.”
Dart said parents have to be aware. “They’ve got watermarks, holograms. They’ve got it all,” he said of the phony IDs. “Parents have to wake up. They really have to wake up here.”