There are roughly 10 distinct differences between a fake identification card and a real one, and most bouncers in State College are able to identify the difference and ask patrons for a backup ID, Security Manager at Levels Nightclub Eric Doberstein said.
There are two different ways of falsifying an ID, Doberstein said. One way is when someone uses another’s legitimate ID and tries to pass it off as their own, known as a false ID. The other is using a fake ID, also known as “ID Chiefs,” with the person’s real information and picture but incorrect date of birth, Doberstein said.
Levels Nightclub, 420 E. College Ave., finds about two to three fake or false IDs per week and uses multiple levels of screening to make sure false or fake IDs don’t get passed, Doberstein said.
The first level is a visual check by the staff followed by a machine scan — if the scan comes up with real information and the security team still suspects the ID as being fake, they will ask the customers to sign a “Declaration of Age” form, Doberstein said.
“We ask [the customers] to fill out their information and sign the form without looking at their IDs and sometimes the signatures don’t match,” Doberstein said.
Mike Putnam, a doorman at Levels Nightclub, said there are bounties on fake IDs and most of them are easy to spot.
“I will usually be able to spot a fake as soon as they take it out of their pockets,” Putnam said. “They are usually very nervous and leave without causing a problem but once I had this one girl try to reach into my pocket to get her fake [ID] back.”
Doberstein also said that bouncers are technically not allowed to hold onto someone’s ID so they will hold it until the real owner of the ID comes in to claim it or they hand it over to the police.
“Some kids think that since they used a fake elsewhere, they can get away with it in State College, but it’s just not worth it for us to risk losing our jobs or paying a huge fine and lose our liquor license,” Doberstein said.
Out-of-state IDs will sometimes take longer to verify because there are a number of fake IDs are from uncommon states like Oregon or Hawaii, Doberstein said.
Ari Hiller said he is from Maine and is regularly suspected of using a fake.
“What should take a few seconds turns out to be a five to seven minute process,” Hiller (senior- supply chain management) said. “I have actually been denied entry because they didn’t think [the Maine ID] was real so now I normally carry a second ID.”
Divya Ghovpade (senior- biochemistry) said that she isn’t wearing her glasses in the picture on her Pennsylvania ID and some bouncers think it’s not real.
The security team at Indigo Nightclub, 112 W. College Ave., tries to familiarize itself with the IDs from different states that students come from, Head of Security at Indigo John Marsh said.
“If it’s from a state we are not very familiar with, we will consult the book, or we will ask for a second ID,” Marsh said. “If you have a wallet or are holding a purse, it’s very unlikely you wont have a second form of ID or even a credit card with your name on it.”
Both the security teams at Levels and Indigo said that most people who get questioned for trying to use a fake ID will abandon the ID and leave.
“We had someone try to use a fake and when we asked him, he turned around and ran,” Marsh said. “Unless they are not making a big deal about it and giving us a lot of problems we usually wont get the police involved immediately.”
Doug Waddington, manager at Sharkies Bar & Thrifty Bottle, 110 Sowers St., said a number of underage customers try to use false ID during the summer.
“Most kids with fake IDs will be very nervous and even be shaking like a leaf,” Waddington said. "Sometimes you'll have their friend say ‘show them your ID’ and that is usually a clear sign that they are trying to use a fake.”