What Are the Penalties for College Students Using Fake IDs?

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fake ids as identity theft

College is a time to experience life and pursue a higher education. Along with working hard on grades, social gatherings play an important role in college life. During these times, to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, some students may turn to making or purchasing fake IDs.

It's not uncommon for college students to use them, but a simple fake ID can lead to other situations – including identity theft and legal penalties.

Why College Students and Identity Theft is a Problem
Although they might not realize it, college students who use fake IDs to appear older so they may purchase alcohol or gain entrance into adult establishments set themselves up for identity theft.

Think about it: if it's that simple to gain access to alcohol or other avenues, think what an identity thief could do with information easily accessible.

The problem is there is very little security and no significant standards to preventing counterfeit identification. "As far as cost is concerned, it's worth it to spend whatever it takes to properly identify and authenticate. Privacy is DEAD. Security is the issue we need to be concerned about. We need to manage our circumstances and tighten things up," states Robert Siciliano, on NextAdvisor.com.

Today, it may be purchasing alcohol, but tomorrow, an identity thief could replicate a fake ID to obtain a passport and purchase a ticket to travel somewhere under someone else's identity.

Fake IDs and Getting Caught
Though most college students revel in using a fake ID to buy alcohol or to get into clubs and 21-and-up events, they should think twice about what might happen if they are caught. With the spread of fraudulent identification documents, our federal, state, and local governments have begun to treat the use of fake ids and identity theft as more serious crimes.

Although many college students might only use a fake ID for simple or easy items, such as purchasing cigarettes, other crimes can be committed using false identification, including:

  • Check fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Social security fraud
  • Immigration fraud
  • Credit fraud
  • And others

If caught, many face certain consequences based on the laws of that jurisdiction. For instance, in Virginia:

  • Using false identification for the purchase of alcohol could result in a Class 1 misdemeanor and, upon conviction, impose a fee of at least $500 or fifty hours of community service, and possible loss of your driver's license for one year.
  •  If you use a fake ID to purchase a firearm, you could face a Class 6 felony.

Yes, it's a common occurrence for college students to purchase or even make their own fake IDs. What they don't realize is how they might open themselves up to identity theft or consequences imposed by the law. In their best interest, it would be wise to simply wait and avoid possible penalties.

If you're looking for more information on protection from identity theft and fake IDs, look at other resources in our identity theft library.

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