Bay Area Night Spots Seeing Plenty Of Realistic Fake IDs From China

BERKELEY (CBS 5) – Chinese companies appear to be flooding the U.S. with very realistic looking fake drivers licenses, and according to both local and federal law enforcement it is a growing concern.

The fake IDs are showing up in bars and clubs all over the Bay Area and the state according to Chris Albrecht with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “14-, 15-,16-year olds are regularly found in possession,” said Albrecht.

Albrecht keeps a collection of fakes and noted old-fashioned detection techniques aren’t enough any more. “Counterfeiting has become a much more sophisticated business and counterfeiters are, in fact, trying to mimic a lot of the security features that are in place,” he said.

At bars like Kip’s in Berkeley where IDs show up from all over the country, manager John Boyle considers himself an expert “It’s easier to get through TSA than to get through our door,” he said.

But sometimes the fake ids are look just as good or better than the real ones, said Boyle. The most popular fakes these days: Arizona drivers licenses.

“From my understanding a lot of them are coming from China,” said Boyle.

UC Berkeley police recently confiscated a shipment of fake IDs from China. “We were contacted by the Department of Homeland Security,” said Lt. Marc Decoulode.

Decoulode said the feds intercepted the package, containing 24 fake drivers licenses, which was headed to a campus fraternity. “They put their true name and a false date of birth so even if someone were to ask for a second piece of ID, like a university student ID, the name and the photo would match the fraudulent ID.

Police said the Berkeley IDs were purchased through a website which advertised realistic-looking drivers licenses from a dozen different states, though none from California.

Patrick, a CBS 5 production assistant, went to the site to order one of the fake IDs. Following directions on the site he stood for a photograph, took a snapshot of his own signature, and uploaded the photos to an order form. “It was almost too simple, it was really easy,” said Patrick.

A day later came directions to wire money to a Demai Xu in the city of Fuzhou, China.

Which he did, sending $200-cash from a Western Union outlet. Two weeks later the package arrived. Inside, hidden underneath the fake bottom of a silverware set: 2 Arizona drivers licenses. They felt real, seemed well made, complete with holograms and a magnetic strip.

So how are the counterfeiters getting away with it? The ABC’s Chris Albrecht told us: “With blind shipments and that kind of thing, it becomes very difficult to investigate thoroughly.”

But it’s just the kind of case the U.S. Postal service does investigate. “There’s probably going to be a number of federal and state agencies that will be very interested in this,” said postal inspector Jeff Fitch.

He said the packaging alone was suspicious. “They’re declaring it as jewelry and we’ve got a fork and a spoon here and the documents are probably underneath so they obviously know what they are doing is wrong.”

The concern is that these IDs could be used for a lot more than getting into bars. “ID theft, ID fraud. Sky’s the limit,” said Fitch.

Kip’s manager John Boyle agreed that the implications are serious. Though Boyle noticed some irregularities in the IDs that told him they were fake, he claimed doormen at most bars and clubs would never notice and neither would the TSA. Boyle said all he can do is play it safe, and when in doubt he just says ‘no.’

The TSA declined to comment for this story. The California DMV couldn’t comment either about other states’ drivers licenses, but told us the new California driver’s license, which has enhanced security features, has not been counterfeited to their knowledge.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • PLW

    China is good at copying papers, clothing, computers, vehicles, and anything else made in the United States. They cannot develope or invent anything on their own, but copy others’ inventions. The United States is not going to do a thing about it, because we owe China sooooooooooooo much money!

  • Anthony Barns

    China is the leading country of the new century. LOL…leading my stinky foot.

  • Tropgrn

    Really why does it matter? In other countries that are actually FREE the fascist idea of checking who a person is, checking their identification, just because they want to go into a bar, does not even exist. This prohibition era nonsense wastes huge amounts of money and resources.

    • Jack

      Are you a cartoon character?

    • ron

      Well then why not let 13 year olds into bars?

    • wildbill6996

      Bet you haven’t been out of the COUNTY you live in, much less the COUNTRY. Don’t be a DUMBA$$ your entire life !!!!!!!!!

  • don

    dont blame china or chinese, there is a market for these fake goods, blame the society in general

    • Jack

      How about blame both?!?!?

  • steve

    Rertinal Scans!

    • me

      We can implant an “eye” phone in every kid, which will actually be a mind control device.

  • Chang

    I totally agree with Don.

  • Mike

    How far does the U.S plan on allowing China to infiltrate our society.

  • Miller Watts

    Wow … I know over 30 kids that have done this exact thing.. they asked if i was interested, I thought about it , then decided naw, I’m not going to send 75$ to some Chinese province via western union.This is ridiculous, NOT COOL CHINA !



      • HistoryRepeatsItself

        Yes why don’t we create a country-wide snitch mentality. The reason KGB, and other “internal affairs” agencies knew so much about people, is not because they had such great agents and surveillance equipment, (though that helped). It was because neighbors, reported on their neighbors.

  • ray

    can chinese just stop making these counterfeiting shiiiiiiiiiiit?
    can they just make honest money?

    • John

      They dont know HOW to make honest money.

  • Brian

    The article made it sound like all of the sudden we have a fake ID problem in US and it’s from China. Last time I checked, we’ve been having fake ID problem for a very long time. It’s just that now crooks in China also jumped into the business. If there’s no such a market in US, no one will do this kind of thing. Clean up yourself before blaming others for your problem.

    • ron

      OF COURSE THERE IS A MARKET FOR ILLEGAL stuff. I get it…just let anything in..drugs, weapons, you name it. That will solve the problem. Right.

  • Joe

    It’s against the law for the under age kids to buy fake id’s. China is not breaking the law, last time I checked China is a different country and does not need to obey U.S. laws. However, the people purchased the illegal Id’s in the U.S. need to follow the laws of the land. Where does it states in the article that U.S. citizens are responsible for following rules and regulations? Instead, the article points out that China is responsible for illegal activities. If it is not China, it will be a different country providing what the market demands.

  • joubaur

    China, the land of the thief!

    • Tom Jones

      America gave it permission to steal… everything we utilize comes from Asia, for the most part. Don’t blame them, blame us, white people anyway!

  • Pelotas Colon

    I think it is a safer bet to remove illegal immigrants from South America, who drive on the roads with fake IDs.

  • adam

    Ladies and Gentlemen…you are probably wearing a Chinese made under ware and panties! Blame yourself and not the China. They produce it cheap and sell it cheap and that is what everyone wants…bargain!

  • ron

    Leave it to China….

    The people here and in China know what they are doing is illegal. I don’t buy the defense of “well its not illegal in China. BS”. They know it is and those websites should be taken down.

  • Kennith

    Once again made in China

  • dAVID

    is it possible to arrest an entire nation?

  • Mark


  • jay

    the chinese are selling what the west wants
    blame the west for BUYING these items

  • ran

    now now china is our ally so suck it up and kiss their ass just like obama does. after all it does create jobs for the forgers and the bouncers who check id’s.

  • ten

    hey don’t hate the player, hate the game, underage white chicks need their fake ids so they can get wasted and give it all up to all the playas, gotta love those snickers lickers! much love to the chinese

  • Dayfydd Griffing

    Interesting that the TSA has nothing to report… We’d like a little something from you after the billions it costs us to have you jam up security lines.
    The security we had before could have been trained much easier and much cheaper.

  • Cathy

    If CA can outsource the rebuilding of the San Fran-Oakland Bay Bridge to China, what’s the big deal here?

  • Barak

    I DID NOT!

  • Francesca

    Everyone in the Bay area has been aware of fake I.D.s and illegal Chinese in California. The INS should take a trip to all the Chinese Business in China Town, Clement Street and further where the Chinese is employing illegals.
    For years the residents of San Francisco and the Bay Area have been aware of boats dropping loads of illegals right here in our Bay.
    An investigation by the Immigration Officials is long overdue!
    They have been focusing on the Mexicans, but they should take a closer look on the growth of Chinese, who does not speak English, have not come to the Bay Area legally, and are hired by the Chinese Business all over Northern California.

    • Ted

      I certainly agree with you Francesca, Back in the 70’s or 80’s I believe Immigration officials were busted for selling permanent resident papers to chinese illegals for about 30 or 40,000. So this is not something new, and it will get worst now that we have chinese politicians.


      Amen to that!!!
      ICE, broaden your area of search and enforce the law. Mexico does not represent a real threat to the US economy but China does. Need to be carefull with the Chinese, they are spilling all over the world.

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