Local officers have seized about 350 fake ID cards from underage drinkers since March 9. That's significantly less than the 3,000 seized they confiscated over the same five-week period five years ago.
Part of the reason is there are less spring breakers than five years ago, but the percentage of underage breakers trying to pass themselves off as legal is about the same. That's why law enforcement is cracking down.
Lt. Tony Cornman of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco says, "We try to keep up on which schools are out on a certain week, and when we're out there working, if we know Alabama and Louisiana colleges are out and we see New Jersey IDs then we know they're probably fake IDs."
Beginning on Thursdays officers hit the street checking local bars and liquor stores. They make the rounds through Sunday, but they're not stopping with spot checks.
Officers also teach local bartenders and bouncers how to identify a fake ID. Some bartenders say they can spot a fake by asking the right questions.
Beverly Hill, a local bartender, says, “What horoscope are you? What's your astrological sign? If there's a question I can even have them sign a piece of paper to make sure the signatures match. The best question we ask is 'what day is your birthday?’ And surprisingly, most people don't even know what birthday they're supposed to be having!"
But get caught with a fake, and you're in serious trouble. It's typically a misdemeanor, which holds up to 60 days in jail with a $500 fine, but get caught changing anything on the ID other than the birthdate, and it's a felony.
Officials say just as many girls use fake IDs as boys, and almost as many high schoolers are caught with fake IDs as college students.