Nearly 20,000 Fake IDs Seized At Chicago O’Hare

I bought my first fake ID at a swap meet when I was 14. It cost me $10, but wasn’t very good. Someone might have believed it was a California ID outside of California if they didn’t check, but not if I had actually been the one trying to use it and passing myself off for 21. (Nor would anyone likely have believed my name was Richard Blaine.)

When I was 17 though I managed to get a really good ID. For $40 a true artist took my real drivers license and replaced the name, address, and date of birth. It worked miracles.

Now, apparently, fake IDs are largely produced overseas. Through the end of June 1513 shipments have been seized at Chicago O’Hare alone that contained 19,888 fake drivers licenses. These mostly came from Hong Kong and China.

Customs presented a parade of horribles of what could happen with fake IDs.

“These counterfeit driver’s licenses can lead to disastrous consequences,” CBP’s Ralph Piccirilli said in a statement. “Criminal organizations use these counterfeit IDs to avoid attracting attention to their illegal activities.”

…”These fraudulent identity documents can lead to identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking,” CBP said in a news release, adding that, “these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”

After all the scare stories, Customs and Border Protection acknowledged “most of the fake IDs were for college-age students.” Isn’t the biggest risk then that someone could be tasked with buying booze for a non-socially distanced rager as colleges open this fall?

The federal government even spins that as a national security risk, just like kids dancing on TikTok, because “you’re giving out your personal information to criminals overseas.” But that doesn’t seem much different than having something drop shipped via Shopify, does it? For most of us the risk is near-zero because of security through obsurity. It’s not worth it for foreign actors to impersonate us.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — The drinking age should be lowered to 18, DUI should carry a 30-day jail term for the first offense, and organ donation should be mandatory.

  2. Talk about declining math skills.
    Issued in 1998???
    More like DOB was 1998 from the pic.
    You didn’t have to be Einstein to spot this one.
    Our fake Military IDs 50 years ago were better designed than what these losers did.

  3. Paul,
    That’s McLovin’s old ID (allegedly) issued in 1998 when he was 17. He’s purportedly 39 now.

  4. @paul,

    I take it you haven’t seen the movie “Superbad”? The fake I’d you don’t seem to understand is a double-fake… That’s the one in the storyline from one of the characters in that movie.

  5. A fake ID is for foreign college kidsI Homegrown kids already have an ID. The biggest risk might be a person using the fake ID to get a US drivers license, and of course – become a registered voter.

    I watch Superbad about once a year, so thanks for the pic. Damn that’s a funny movie.

  6. Gary, it is actually a national security risk that tens of thousands of fake IDs are annually produced in communist China. False identity documents are potentially just as destabilizing as counterfeit currency or social media posts created by foreign military operatives to run election interference.

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