How and Why Students Get Fake IDs


Photo by Liliana Lozano

Every year, the Warrensburg Police Department seizes between 100 to 150 fake IDs. Like any college town, Warrensburg’s trouble with underage drinking and partying are expected, but why do UCM students choose to use fake IDs?

Editor’s Note: This article has two anonymously interviewed students because admitting they have fake IDs and explaining the process they went through to get them can be incriminating. The Muleskinner wanted to investigate why students choose to buy Fake IDs, not report on those who have them to get them in trouble. Information received from anonymous sources is always corroborated and accuracy checked.

  Black water runs into porcelain sinks as bar patrons aggressively scrub at the black x’s marked on the back of their hands.

  Every year, the Warrensburg Police Department seizes between 100 to 150 fake IDs. Like any college town, Warrensburg’s trouble with underage drinking and partying are expected, but why do UCM students choose to use fake IDs?

  Fitting into the college student stereotype, one student uses their fake ID to get into bars and drink with friends, noting that it’s fun and something weird happens every time. Though they live on UCM’s campus during the school year, they don’t party in Warrensburg but in a bigger college town in Kansas. Legally, Missouri bars are allowed to confiscate IDs and turn them over to police, but Kansas laws forbid that.

  The student, nineteen years old, ordered their ID online with an order for fifteen other IDs for other individuals younger than 21.

  “It was kind of a pain,” the student said. “Everybody had to send me a picture, and then I had to get their signature and address they wanted on the ID.”

  When purchasing fake IDs, people can choose which state license they want their fake ID to resemble, and the student chose to have a Missouri ID because they had heard it was an easier ID to fake than their home state’s.

  The student also said they believe that the drinking restriction in the United States should be lowered. 

  “I think that when you turn eighteen and you’re considered an adult, you should be able to do whatever you want,” the student said. “I think that it’s all very outdated. I think that the drinking age should be 18. It’s 18 in a lot of countries [like] Mexico; it’s even lower over in Europe.” 

  Another UCM student bought their fake ID online and mostly used it when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

  “I just sit there playing Xbox and [I thought], ‘this could be a lot more fun drinking,’ and so I’d go buy alcohol and drink with my brother,” the student said. “We didn’t really have much else to do because everything was closed.”

  The student said they thought of alcohol as an avenue to socialize and become closer with their friends. They used their ID for nearly two years before anyone recognized it as a fake and refused to sell alcohol to them.  

  Corporal Jake Prindle is an officer of the Warrensburg Police department and part of his work deals with fake ID enforcement.

  “It’s technically an arrestable offense, meaning if I were to catch you with one, I could put you in handcuffs, I could bring you down here, we could do the whole nine yards with that,” Prindle said. “Most of the time, I don’t do that. I give them a ticket and they go out the door, so it’s something relatively minor.”

  Missouri law states that offenders can be put in jail for up to one year or given a $1000 fine. Additionally, because of how fake ID websites are operated, individuals could be giving their personal information to a company that could potentially sell it to international criminals, according to Transportation Security Administration analyst Don Morrison.

  Another unintended consequence of having a fake ID is that if an individual is caught and fined for possessing one, a future employer is within their rights to request records and access that information.

  For the Warrensburg Police Department, they are not so worried about students’ future job outlook or global terrorism, but about the smaller effects fake ID use can cause.

  “The big concern that I have and the reason we work cases the way we do is we don’t want people drinking underage in the bars,” Prindle said. “That’s a liability on the bar, it’s a liability on the city.” 

  If a bar is caught serving underage patrons, it could lose its liquor license and individual bartenders could face legal consequences. Those cohosing to drink while underage could also be a liability to the city for several reasons. If a bar is shut down because it loses its license, then there’s less business and tax revenue for the city. 

  Prindle wants to prevent people from drinking underage as it can result in other illegal and potentially dangerous activities. Prindle said he wants to deter people from making other bad decisions that are associated with underage drinking, such as minors in possession of alcohol, public indecency, trespassing, assault and drunk driving.

    “We try to be preventative,” Prindle said. “We’re not out here trying to ruin underage people’s lives. We’re here to hopefully prevent worse things from happening.”