Be Yourself, Unless You’re Underage

Use of false identification to enter drinking establishments is not uncommon among Texas Tech students. A poll by The Hub@TTU revealed 58 percent of 72 respondents have misrepresented their age.

Only one of these 72 people said that he or she used false identification for purposes other than obtaining alcohol.

These findings are in line with national data. A study published in 2013 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and featured on LiveScience showed fake ID use was even more common, with almost two-thirds of 1,000 college students reporting using false identification to obtain alcohol at least once during college.

A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, fake ID ownership is more common among college students than any other age group. Eighteen percent of underage college students reported using false identification to obtain alcohol, and 51 percent reported alcohol was “very easy” to obtain.

This is my real ID.

This is my real ID.

Underage people have many options to falsely represent their ages, said Capt. Stephen Hinkle of the Texas Tech Police Department. Some use a fake ID, and some use a friend or relative’s real ID if they look similar.

Of the 61 respondents in The Hub@TTU’s survey, 33 said they used someone else’s real ID, 25 said they used a fake ID with their pictures, and three said they used something else.

Hinkle said that when students are caught with fake IDs, it usually follows a DWI or PI charge.

“They’ll pull out their real [ID], and the fake one will be behind it, so we see it,” Hinkle said, “and that’s an additional charge they get.”

The possessor of the fake identification can receive a charge either for possession of a fictitious license or for possession of two valid driver’s licenses, according to Hinkle.

Brian, a graduate student at Texas Tech who asked that only his first name is used in this story, said he obtained a fake ID in his freshman year by ordering it online.

“I didn’t drink too much in high school, but in the dorms, my roommate was 21, so he could buy alcohol,” Brian said.

His roommate recommended he get a fake ID. Another friend gave him the email address of a man in Malaysia. The man told him the fake ID would have Brian’s picture, scan and appear real under a black light, in exchange for $200.

About a month later, he received a refrigerator manual in the mail.

“I thought ‘This is nonsense,’ and I threw it on the ground,” he said. “[My girlfriend] picked it up, and she was flipping through it, and said ‘No, look, the ID is right here.’ It was taped to the back of page, like, 32.”

He said he never had any problem with it, but Crickets was the strictest bar about it.

“They have the book, they check the hologram, but I always got in,” Brian said.

When he turned 21 and returned to the same bars, he said a few people caught on.

“I had a picture on my real ID from when I was 16, and my fake ID, it was a more recent picture,” Brian said. “Actually, I got turned down with my real ID at Chimy’s and at Crickets a couple times.”

Those serving or selling alcohol have many different ways to spot a false ID. For example, the person presenting it can be asked information such as the street address, zip code or birthday on the ID.

About Maddy McCarty

Maddy is the Graduate Executive Director for The Hub@TTU. She loves reading, writing and petting her cats. She has a degree in journalism, is pursuing her master's in mass communications and wants to continue reporting on important issues.

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