To a teen, a fake ID may not seem like a big deal, but buying one could ruin his or her life.
Postal inspectors say in one recent case, a routine traffic stop led authorities to bust a multimillion dollar fake ID ring.
“The trooper had seen fake IDs before, but was impressed with the quality of these,” recalled David Cunningham a U.S. Postal Inspector.
After being questioned, the minors admitted they had bought the IDs to purchase alcohol and told the trooper how they got them. Inspectors say the minors had sent thousands of dollars, along with personal information to get these fake IDs.
“The purchasers of the IDs use their official university email address. At that point you are now sharing your university email address, along with your mailing address and your name and other information to now an illegal business,” explained Cunningham.
In addition to the potential danger of underage drinking, the high quality IDs posed another problem.
“It really presented a national security issue. Because the way the business was set up one customer could purchase fraudulent IDs for any other number of customers as well,” said Cunningham.
Postal Inspectors have some advice for young people: do not give out your personal information to anyone and think twice before making a mistake that will follow you for the rest of your life.
“Don’t do something now for a temporary pleasure that you’re going to greatly regret later. In some states, possessing and using and presenting a fraudulent identification is a felony and that can ruin your career from the very beginning,” Cunningham said.
The two masterminds behind the fake ID scheme made more than 20,000 fake IDs and are serving between four and five years behind bars.