Joseph smiled at the bartender, asked for a beer and, when he heard the familiar request for an ID, pulled his Connecticut driver’s license from his wallet.
The 20-year-old had breezed through the drill dozens of times, but on this Friday night in April, it seemed to be taking too long. Then the bartender pulled a book from behind the counter and flipped to a picture of a Connecticut ID.
“That freaked me out,” said Joseph, who attends a university in the Northeast and is working in Fort Worth this summer. “I thought he was going to realize it was a fake and would throw me out.”
But a few minutes later, Joseph, who spoke on condition that his last name not be used, was sipping a beer. His nearly flawless ID, which he had designed on a computer and pasted together in about 30 minutes, had yet again passed the test.
Young people have used forged licenses as long as laws have prevented them from drinking. But what separates students such as Joseph from the generations of varsity counterfeiters before them is the deftness of their felonious work. Using computer technology widely available at universities, they’re able to make fake IDs so advanced that even veteran officers are duped.