Faking It: South students discuss varying levels of involvement with fake IDs

Dani Tuchman & Gracie Sands, co-editor-in-cheif & asst.-features editor

It’s a Friday night, and you’re now ready to unwind and have some fun. Not only have you agreed to host your group of friends, but you’re also in charge of supplying the alcohol for the evening. This is the first time you will need to use your fake ID, so naturally, you’re nervous.

Your palms start sweating and thoughts of potential consequences race through your mind as you decide whether or not it’s worth it to use it. It’d be pointless not to use it, you think to yourself. It did cost $60 after all, and you’re taking one for the team…

I’m gonna do it, you think. You get in your car, drive to the nearest liquor store and confidently walk in with the attitude of a 21-year-old. You ignore the security cameras on the wall and the imposing red sign that reads, “We Card Here.”

“It’ll be $58.92,” the clerk says. “Can I see your ID?”

Your skin goes cold as you slowly retrieve your Pennsylvania ID from your wallet. You quickly quiz yourself on your fake birthday, home address and zip code. Your nerves get the better of you, but the clerk doesn’t question the small, hologrammed piece of plastic. You’re shocked but ultimately successful.

Senior Lindsey Porter* recalls her first time using her fake ID in a similar stressful, nerve-wracking experience, partially because she knew that the consequences were extremely strict.

“The first time I used it was when I walked into a liquor store,” Porter reflected. “I was shaking and so nervous, and then [the clerk] ended up not even carding me […] I initially wasn’t going to get one, because I was so scared that I was going to be caught with it. I’m aware of what could happen, so that’s why I don’t use it all the time. When I do use it, I’m very particular about where I show it because God forbid they call the cops on me. I get very nervous about that.”

According to Sergeant James Foley at the Glenview Police Department, potential consequences for possession of a fake ID range from a class A misdemeanor, which requires a year in jail and a $2500 fine,  to a class A felony. The most common punishment, according to Foley, is the confiscation of the ID and an issued village ordinance violation ticket.

Porter explained there are several uses for fake IDs other than the typical purchasing of alcohol and other illegal substances.

“I think that [fake IDs] are worth it because you can use [them] for various things,” Porter explained. “There’s a stigma that you’re only going to use it to […] go to bars, but there are a lot of benefits to it when you’re in college and you’re 18 and you want to go to a 21+ concert, and [it’s] your favorite band.”

Not only does Porter own a fake ID, but according to an unscientific Oracle-conducted survey of 320 students at South, 18.75 percent of them admitted to owning a fake ID.

This survey includes both upper and underclassmen, both of which have admitted to either owning a fake ID or having someone else use their ID to purchase alcohol for them. Many students noted that underclassmen ask upperclassmen to purchase alcohol for them, and senior Heather Montgomery* believes this is better than riskier alternatives.

“Underclassmen that want to drink will drink regardless and will try to get alcohol anyway they can,” Montgomery said. “Stopping older kids from buying for them really isn’t solving the solution of them drinking; if anything, it ensures that the alcohol they’re drinking at their own risk isn’t laced with anything harmful.”

Senior Chris Hayward* admits that he often purchases alcohol in order to sell it to other students, including underclassmen, for a profit. Hayward explains that having a fake ID has enabled him to create somewhat of a business for himself, because he is a regular at a particular liquor store. Due to the fact that he buys from the store so often, he is no longer asked to show a form of ID.

“It gives me a little extra money, and I enjoy overcharging [other] kids,” Hayward said. “People want to drink, and it’s more convenient if you can just buy your own alcohol instead of relying on someone else. It’s certainly risky, but I’m pretty quick in and out of the store so I don’t see myself getting caught. I don’t even get carded anymore, but as long as it scans, the businesses really don’t have anything to lose.”

Although some students choose to take part in the fake ID culture that is present at South, other students are against the use of IDs because they believe they are both unethical and highly illegal. Senior Hailey Pearson* does not agree with the decision to purchase and use a fake ID and advises students to stay away from them.

“I know that people purchase fake IDs to buy alcohol, which means you are breaking multiple laws and putting both yourself, the person who made the ID and the vendor of the alcohol or contraband in danger,” Pearson said. “There are other ways to obtain alcohol without purchasing a fake ID, if that’s the main goal. A lot of my friends are looking to buy a fake [ID] before prom, and I don’t think it’s ethical. Laws are in place for a reason, and just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you should break them.”

Porter noted how the ease and accessibility of creating fake IDs online has contributed to the increase in student usage. Since students have access to computers and digital cameras, the process is less difficult than it was in the past. However, Porter also added that the frequented party culture at South, according to a past Oracle-conducted survey of 282 kids partaking in party culture, is correlated to fake ID usage.

“Each class tries to outdo themselves [with the amount of parties there are], and […] with that, the fake ID culture starts to increase,” Porter mentioned. “You can easily go online and order them with your friends, and it is much easier than it was in the past. That’s why it’s increasing, because [the creation of fake IDs] is adapting to the technological times.”

In contrast to Porter, Montgomery says she’ll wait until college to purchase a fake ID because she says they are unnecessary to have while in high school, where the stakes are a lot higher if a student were to get caught either consuming or purchasing alcohol.

“A lot of college scenes and parties require you to have a fake [ID], so it would affect my social life in college for not having one,” Montgomery said. “The advantages of having a fake ID are that you have the ability to purchase alcohol and also get into these places that would otherwise be restricted.”

While some students who choose to break this law may wait until they begin attending college to purchase a fake ID, junior Brian Lockwood* used his ID recently when he visited Illinois State University for a weekend and went to a fraternity party. He claims that others were quickly able to tell he was underage, but they let him into the party regardless.

“My fake actually got me into an Illinois State frat party when I visited,” Lockwood said. “They thought I looked young, and of course they were able to tell it was a fake considering probably almost all of them had fakes, but I was let in because they were just impressed that a junior [in high school] had a fake.”

Outside of South, the Glenview Police Department convicts few under aged students with possession of fake IDs. According to Sergeant Foley, he recognizes that the prevalence of fake IDs is greater in urban settings, such as downtown Chicago and university campuses. However, the Glenview Police Department still works to minimize the presence of fake ID’s in the Glenview community.

“Mostly, what we do is bar checks,” Foley said. “The officers will go into a bar and if they see someone who looks too young, then we’ll ask them for their ID. We also have some employees self-reporting from bars. They do these checks fairly regularly–a couple a month for sure.”