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SALISBURY -- Getting a fake ID has become as easy as ordering a pair of shoes online.

A website based out of China is offering those too antsy to wait until their 21st birthday a way to cheat the system, while local law enforcement, as well as bar and restaurant owners, find ways to catch them.

John Groncki, chief liquor license inspector for Wicomico County, said the latest fake IDs are virtually impossible to detect.

"The holograms are correct; everything is correct," Groncki said.

The driver's licenses, available for 11 states including Maryland, can pass blacklight tests in states that use blacklight stamps and are able to get past scanners at bars and restaurants.

In the past, fake IDs have had some issues, Groncki said, but creators have learned along the way.

"There were some discrepancies in the beginning," Groncki said. "They were missing a hyphen ... they fixed it. Sometime later on the back of the card the director of the Motor Vehicle Administration's signature was missing ... they fixed it."

Other inaccuracies along the way included missing parentheses around the "s" in restrictions, which was fixed.

Every time a problem arose, those who make the forgeries fixed it, making the fake IDs harder and harder to detect.

Groncki said the two places where the forgers haven't been able to fool authorities is when the IDs are scanned by a member of law enforcement or when anyone bends the cards.

"If they take it in their hand and bend it into the letter C and if it bubbles up in the crease, they know have a fake ID," Groncki said.

When members of law enforcement scan the cards after a traffic stop or any other reason, a warning pops up alerting them that the card could be fake.

"In our computer systems, there is a window that will come up that can indicate to the trooper that it is a high probability that this is a phony identification," said Elena Russo, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Police. "Then the trooper can investigate further."

In some cases, the fake ID won't swipe through the police system, alerting officers that it's fake.

Those who visit the website -- www.idchief.ph -- are greeted by neon type explaining the process and videos showing how real they look.

"Woot summer is here," reads the website. "Are you ready to party? If not, order from us and we will make sure that you are!"

Step-by-step instructions are provided on how to take a photo, pen a signature using a black Sharpie on white computer paper and pay for the ID.

Groncki said the site is playing to the larger number of people who live in college housing, saying group orders of 10 or more people is a "very good deal."

The order form asks similar questions to what someone applying for a real driver's license at the MVA might fill in.

One difference is that separate places are available for a custom address and where the IDs will be shipped to -- possibly implying those applying for a fake license shouldn't use their real address.

The services don't come cheap. The website offers a single person two IDs for $200. Prices go up from there.

 

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