FAKE IDs, BARCODES, AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Back in the day, when licenses and IDs were made with a laminating machine, almost everyone knew that guy (or maybe you were that guy!) who could convincingly alter a license that could then get under-aged kids into the local bar, or at least let them get one over on the dude behind the counter at the convenience store. Fast forward to today, to the era of thermoplastic printing and the addition of barcode technology, and suddenly the success rate of those fake IDs is greatly diminished.
As awareness of under-age drinking and smoking has grown, so have the penalties for those who sell those products to under-age buyers. In the 1980s and 1990s, governments began cracking down on under-age drinking and tobacco use. Around the same time, states began switching their ID formats to something less prone to altering. This introduction of barcode systems in IDs helps to protect restaurants, convenience stores, liquor stores, bars, and smoke shops from the risks of accidentally selling products to kids who aren’t old enough to purchase.
The penalties associated with selling age-regulated products to underage patrons are severe and can include fines, or even jail time, for employees found guilty of violating these laws. In some cases, violations of the laws are misdemeanors, but they can be considered felonies as well. Jail sentences for misdemeanors can range from a few days to one year. Felony convictions can include sentences of at least a year in prison, though they may be significantly longer depending on the circumstances.
Fines for misdemeanors are most often between $500 and $1,000, but depending on the circumstances, they can be significantly higher (up to $5,000). Fines associated with felony convictions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or even more. Individuals in court will have to pay court costs that can range from a few hundred to a few thousand. Of course, attorney fees will also run from several hundred to several thousand dollars and will most often need to be paid upfront. (https://www.alcohol.org/laws/supplying-alcohol-to-a-minor/) In many cases, legal fees and damages to the business reputation can cause bankruptcy and business closure.
Adequate, recurring training is an employer’s best defense. Ensuring that employees understand laws and the consequences for breaking the law (even unintentionally) are the first steps in protecting against violations. There are additional tools businesses can incorporate that can provide an even more secure defense for themselves and their employees.
The barcodes imprinted on contemporary licenses are designed to provide critical information to those with a need to know. Law enforcement, medical personnel, or EMTs and firefighters certainly make the list, but so do restaurant servers, bartenders, and cashiers who are charged with responsibly selling age-regulated products. Providing an appropriate scanning device gives these employees an essential tool to protect themselves and the businesses where they are employed.
A scanner that can be kept at a register or service portal and works fast and reliably is an ideal candidate for these situations. The visual display provides instant and accurate results for verifying age and ensuring legal-age customers are served without delay and under-age customers are denied without incident.
Of course, as technology advances, so do the scams and hacks designed to thwart the system. Clever minds with devious purposes can engineer all manner of fixes and workarounds for contemporary systems. It takes both the tools and the training to catch those trying to circumvent the law. Well-trained employees can see and feel an altered ID card. They also know the right questions to ask. For example, the fake ID will probably have a fake date of birth. This new fake birth date might fall under a different Zodiac sign than the patron’s actual Zodiac sign. You might ask the person “What’s your Zodiac sign?” He or she might know the fake date of birth because they memorized it but probably won’t know the new Zodiac sign. (https://www.identificationsystemsgroup.com/blog/how-to-spot-a-fake-id/)
Code’s extensive line of scanners provides the reliability and security necessary for these businesses to protect themselves and their employees. We’ve been disappointing minors for more than 20 years. Let us help you ensure the security of your business. Visit our website to read more on Code retail, or contact us for a demo.