back to article Retailers fooled by fake and borrowed IDs

Kids in the UK are experts in using fake IDs bought online or using someone else's documents to get their hands on age-restricted products. Half of those surveyed have bought alcohol while underage and one in five have bought knives. One in five kids use fake ID cards bought online mostly to get into pubs and clubs. More …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Some of these numbers sound way off. 1 in 5 used fake ID to buy knives? Who were they surveying? Doesn't sound representative to me. I would love to see the source research.

  2. James 5

    No kidding ...!

    My partners son had several fake IDs over his student years (and after). All produced by some enterprising kids with PhotoShop.

    Just wonder how long before there are large numbers of this "entrepreneurs" turning out UK ID cards for a few pounds a pop ....

  3. Richard IV

    Proof of Age standards scheme

    "A whopping 71 per cent had not heard of the scheme at all and only four per cent of those surveyed would get such a card."

    Hmm, wonder why. Might it be because cards only a step up from being done with crayons and sticky-back plastic succeed at the teenager's aim (Proving to the satisfaction of the retailer that they are over 18, even/especially if they aren't)?

    Perhaps we're safer than we feared about teenagers being the soft target for ID cards. £30 for doing the same job as I can do for 50p with some laminated cardboard and a felt tip? You're having a larf incha?

  4. The Original Ash

    Seen this in action

    A girl in front of me in a queue had borrowed her sister's driving license to go out clubbing. Doorman spotted it instantly, as the two were obviously dissimilar. He took a step to the left, pointed upwards, and told the girl "You're on CCTV, love. This isn't your license, I'm confiscating it and reporting its misuse to the Police. I don't need your name, your sisters name, address, and date of birth are already in my pocket. Off you go."

    Alternative anecdote: My mate (17 at the time) was asked for ID at a bar. "How old are you?" "Twenty two." "Oh. Ok then!" Apparently not answering with "18" or "19" is proof enough.

    1. Mad Dave


      I's have reported the doorman to the police for theft.

      1. DoorHandle

        Not theft.

        It's a doorman's legal duty to confiscate it. I'm an ex-doorman and that is exactly what we were told to do. Your supposed to tell her that she can collect it from the police station in the morning if it really is hers. Not confiscating it can mean you lose your SIA badge, which means no more work and a hefty fine for you.

      2. Trevor Marron

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        You clearly don't understand what theft is then Mad Dave. Look it up and find out the legal definition.

    2. Glyn 2


      Right now, there's a local "entrepreneur" that, whenever they bring out a new design on the ID card with new security features has a fake knocked out in a couple of days.

      These cards make about as much sense as a security code on a radio, which as anyone who's ever lost their code will tell you, takes a guy in a garage about 30 seconds to reset to 12345.

      Mines the one with the collar turned up

    3. Anonymous Coward

      I believe...

      ...that anyone with the accent you transcribe orthographically would actually say "you're having a bubble"

    4. Plasma


      A friend of mine once got into the pub aged 15, walked up to the bar and said "I'll have a pint of beer, please." Blew it in one sentence.

    5. Vincent Ballard

      The age-old problem with surveys

      It should probably read "1 in 5 claimed to have used fake ID to buy knives". Accounting for people lying in surveys is a pain in the arse.

      Mine's the one with a foreign flag on the sleeve so that I can pretend not to speak English.

  5. Fred 1


    30 odd years back, I was a regular in the pub by 14 and it's good to hear that the kids are savvy enough to keep the old traditions going despite the rise of the surveilance state. Here's to the youth of today.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Me too

      My first "local" was the Bricklayers Arms, the people of Wigan being a literal type, it was populated with Bricklayers (of course), hod carriers, plasterers and the like, quite how my spotty mates from college and I used to survive I don't know, maybe the regulars recognised we were going through a rite of passage.

      On the plus side, we couldn't really indulge in binge drinking what with them serving Mild and Bitter and stocking Lager (although I dont recall ever ordering that in there)

      1. asiaseen

        Stocking lager?

        Presumably tastes like p*ss.

  6. Matthew 4

    depends what you wear

    If I'm wearing a shirt then never looked at twice, however wear a hoodie or some such and they ask me every time.

  7. Wibble

    From the department of no shit Sherlock

    Teens lie to get into pubs. Well, it would never happen in my day.

  8. The BigYin


    Control the children, and you control the future.

  9. CT

    giving up spelling for lent

    "said they had leant identity documents"

    lean - leant

    lend - lent

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That;'s OK

    'cos the government is working on a totally unforgeable ID card scheme. It must be true because the Home Office says so.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "78 per cent of over-18s said they had leant identity documents to younger kids"

    Exactly where did they conduct this survey? Some council estate in a rough area of Liverpool perhaps? I'm sorry to say that this one statistic throws the validity of the whole set of data into doubt in my mind anyway.

    1. Steven 29
      Dead Vulture

      indeed - Hmm

      I presume this was supposed to read along the lines of "78 per cent of under-18s said they had be 'lent' identity documents by over-18s", meaning that of the 1,200 surveyed, 936 kids said they were given the identity documents by an adult?

      If not, then that 'statistic' was from another survey, as 'The survey of 1,200 kids' does not include over-18s never mind that it's a ridiculous statement ...

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Lying to get into a pub

      In my day we didn't have to lie. As an under-age drinker I used to have pints baught me by our local Bobby.

  12. mmiied


    pepol underage not instrested in card to prove thay are under age?

    I never would have gesed that

  13. Ian 35
    Paris Hilton

    Don't believe it

    I certainly don't believe the claim that nearly half have used a stolen credit card to purchase booze, fags or porn DVDs online. Firstly, the market for online booze sales involves couriers calling at the house, so hard to do without parental involvement. Rates of smoking aren't that high. And given the huge amounts of online porn, isn't buying DVDs a bit 1990s? If ~50% of parents are having their credit cards misused, why is there no spate of chargebacks? Why aren't the credit card companies saying anything about it?

    Paris, because she know how to use daddy's money to _make_ porn.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    "they had leant identity documents to younger kids."

    Bought in Pisa, no doubt.

    I guess that puts a new slant on things.

  15. npupp 1

    Ah, that old trick

    Borrowing someone else's Driving License.... in my day, all we needed was a photocopy of a birth certificate, I kid you not. It's proof of age, Not a photo ID mind, by paper driving licenses were still in circulation.

    @The Original Ash, kiddies eh? Anyone saying they were 18/19 years old where I worked would automatically get asked for DOB, most not being able to give correct year. Ah. dimwitted fooled. Those that passed got asked for ID anyway, lol.

    1. Trevor Marron

      No charge-backs because....

      The card companies insist that if you claim unauthorised use by a family member then they report the family member to the police for fraud.

      I know this from personal experience.

  16. Andy Scott


    That's all good and well, however when i'm checking i.d on one of the bars at work(i work in a concert venue), the bar manager has told us we only except a Driving Licence or a Passport as they Proof of Age card and especially the i.d cards are not worth the paper they're printed on. Hell just before christmas i had someone show me their rail card as i.d wtf.

  17. Ed

    Dodgy stats

    I cannot believe these stats. In a random sample of the 8 guys sitting near me, none have lent ID. 78%!? You'd be hard pushed to find 78% of people who have done anything!

    A bit more editorial required?

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Who carries ID

      I have once attempted to use a rail card as proof of age on entering a pub. I was 25 and had a three inch goatee, so I wasn't expecting to be asked for ID, and I didn't drive so I didn't carry my driving licence. The bouncer let me in eventually, possibly because I was with a group of (mainly younger) friends who did have ID and he didn't want to turn away that much custom for the sake of rigid adherence to policy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I once tried to use use a uni card...

        ...Which had expired in 2003.

        I was paying on my credit card (so I had to be 18, but never mind), so the name was clearly the same, my ID was mine (and they agreed it was mine). This was in 2006, I normally carry my passport as frankly I get IDed buying lottery tickets despite closing in on 30.

        Anyway despite the bar staff agreeing that a) I was the person in the ID, b) that since I was the person in the ID I would have to be at least 24 and that c) these two facts meant that they knew beyond reasonable doubt that I was over 18, they still wouldn't serve me.

        Apparently they could only take passport/driving licence. It's sad that common sense isn't allowed a look in sometimes.

  18. Matt Hawkins

    What a useless survey

    The numbers in this survey are all over the place and are clearly wrong.

    "78 per cent of over-18s said they had leant identity documents to younger kids"

    WTF ? I'd be surprised if is was 7.8 per cent.

    They obviously didn't seem to realise that people lie. Kids especially. Ask a group of kids a question and the only thing they will be worrying about it looking good in front of their mates.

    I suspect this survey was engineered as part of a "we need ID cards. think of the children !!"

    ... but anyone lending ID to kids should be prosecuted.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my day

    We could spell licence correctly (bloody Americans).

    I never needed fake ID as a lad, being of a large build I passed for 18 when I was 15. The usual excuse for buying tabs was "they're for me mum".

  20. Inachu

    I never did use a fake id as a kid.


    I never did.

    All the stuff I ever wanted was in my age range. COMICS!

    The only hobby I did that would be as equally as bad as a teen over 30 years ago

    was calling those new call chat lines 1-900

    or the get rich quick scheme with a super long intro tape to listen to that

    would make anyones ear turn red, "But wait! Theres more!"

    Well What I found out when they introduced these new features on tv was that the

    company never changed the password code and it was always the same as the last 4 digits of the phone number..... So that man who eventually went to jail for ponzi or pyramid scheme

    I called up and hit pound and did the 4 digits got in and erased any and all messages relating to his crap and replaced it with heavy breathing...non stop heavy breathing for 20 minutes!


    The private joy of ruining someone elses illegal business scheme that would show up on the news months or years later always gave me great satisfaction.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      A phone with a £ key? I don't believe you.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Well I never !

    Well now there's a thing ! Whoever would have thunk it?

    Nothing to do, of course, with the fact that knee-jerk age-ID measures are largely thought up by politicians interested more in soundbytes? Or that assuming we're always more intelligent than our kids might not be the best game plan?

    The statistic is, of course - like most statistics - pure rubbish.

  22. Steve Evans

    Ah, the old right of passage...

    Still remember borrowing a driving licence (no picture on them back then) and using it to get into my first nightclub. Got the 3rd degree from the doorman, "date of birth?", "when did you pass your test?" and the old favourite "What star sign are you?"

    I managed to remember it all, but must admit I was crapping myself!

    After all that the night club was shite, no idea what age group it was supposed to impress, but it didn't work on a sub 18 me!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What a wonderful device

    El Reg, like the mice, experimenting on its readership again. Let see if they can count, spell or own up to under age drinking.

    Nice but a little obvious this time.

    Favourite comment: Bought in Pisa...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Law has no respect

    and doesn't really deserve it, if they are going to criminalise people on victimless crimes then it just sets up the future for retaliation.

    Law shouldn't be about power, it should be about what is right and fair, and the power of that should sustain it.

    What we have at the moment, and on the increase, is Law at the end of a barrel of a gun and that is something Britain had avoided. English Law used to be the model to be emulated, nowadays UK Law is the thing to avoid duplicating.

  25. Brezin Bardout

    Clarity Commerce

    Well, isn't that a surprise. It just so happens that the company that comissioned the survey is planning to introduce technology, that will help combat fake IDs being used, into the UK.

    This article goes into a bit more depth -

  26. bertie bassett

    21 in the USA

    Back in the day was on a 6 week college sports trip (aka bender) round the good ole USA. Unfortunately wasn't 21 and didn't really like carrying passport everywhere to get a beer. Those were the days where you could get an international driving permit from the AA which had a photo on it (some gray paper document) - you filled out a form with the details you wanted and voila...

    No issue when 10 brits turned up wanting a beer, got served every time...

    1. Gannon (J.) Dick

      @bertie bassett

      I feel your pain. I spent my 18th Birthday on the Wisconsin-Michigan border, Skiing in Wisconsin, Drinking in Michigan. Wisconsin turned 18 about a month later, but the strange thing was that the town I lived in not near the border took the German Chemist's point of view: Water and Beer are simple Alcohols, by nomenclature, but not Ethanol by nature. The only problem a 16 year old had was if your Teachers and Parents were in the same bar (with or without their infants and younger children). With or without beer, no teenager wants those two groups overly social.

      But being a current resident of Texas, I have to wonder what the fuss is about, since a few years ago the Secret Service had written procedures on how to ignore the problem (busted, Jenna).

  27. Captain DaFt

    Never needed a fake ID

    Since from the age of about twelve, up until I was old enough to buy it legally, I just brewed my own.

    Simple really, all the instructions can be googled in minutes.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Stricter ID usage?

    Seriously, does the ID card have a working crypto chip? Did they check the chip?

    Also, why would you need a ID to buy knives? I have an ID card and I was never asked to present it the last time I bought a parang knife from a gift shop.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    and the other end of the spectrum

    I was in line at my local grocery store, one with a card-everyone policy, and it was ridiculuous to watch the 16yo clerk ask for the ID of a 75yo man buying a bottle of wine...

  30. heyrick Silver badge

    In my day...

    Near my school was a pub. The bloke running the pub used to let the kids in on the basis of "it's better than having those little pr*cks running around town". Evidently this was tolerated by the police as the place was never raided, never shut down... and the odd thing is, when you're a teenager and could go somewhere for a pint, you might do it socially on weekends with the pool table - but otherwise there wasn't much 'thrill' in it. Okay, we're going back to the late '80s, I'm sure attitudes have changed drastically since then (and I doubt for the better).

    I only ever went there once. As a non-drinker, it was the start of a life-long (well, thus far) loathing of pubs due to being given the flat remains of Happy Shopper quality lemonade, being charged MORE than a pint would cost, and being treated like a second-class citizen. Cheers.

    ID card? Needed ID on a number of occasions - buying fireworks, lottery tickets... There was one bloke, from a location between Africa and China, who ran a corner shop (cliche alert!) who KNEW me yet demanded ID every single time. I used to pull out my student card, rail card, bank card and work up through all of this trivia until I could finally slap my passport on the table and tell him to go argue it with the Queen. There was a proof-of-age scheme running at the time (the card cost me a fiver, looked like my immunisation card, no photo - FAIL!) and he said it was "inadequate". I wonder if he'd say the same thing about the new government ID card?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Young Ones

    TEENAGER #1: I'm sixteen, I'm old enough to marry and have children, but I can't drink in pubs. When will the government wake up and realize that young adults are mature and responsible people?

    TEENAGER #2: I'm sixteen, right? I can join the Army, the Air Force and the Navy... but I can't drink in pubs. When will the government, right, realize that young adults have a valued contribution to give to society?

    [This TEENAGER is sniffing glue. He reacts visibly before speaking.]

    TEENAGER #3: A lot of people say that young adults are violent, right? But how would you feel if you were old enough to have... intercourse with the partner of your choice... and yet you could not drink in pubs?


    On a serious note, I don't understand why kids want to get into pubs. Bloody boring places if you ask me. Fair enough your pub going experience is only as good as the people you go with, but generally speaking the kind of person who wants to meet you in the pub every other night probably only wants you there to justify his own drinking problem. Not worth the time.

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