By Sam van der Loo
It’s every teenager’s nightmare: seeing your friends entering the nightlife, while one is being refused by a strict bouncer. Many of them found a solution to this dilemma: a forged ID card. A quick fix which is a crime and therefore illegal. It can result in fines of up to 370 euros, however this does not deter teenagers.
An example is the now 20-year-old Roël, who was arrested for owning a fake ID card when he was 17. “I made one myself”, he says with a smile on his face. “Now I can laugh about it, but at the time it was a bit of a shock. I even had to stay at the police station on the night I got caught.”
“I made a fake ID using only my laptop and Dad’s scanner”
“I knew I could also buy one online”, Roël continued. “But there are several tutorials on the internet on how to make a fake ID. And actually, it was a piece of cake. I made it using only my laptop and Dad’s scanner.”
Not everyone gets behind the computer themselves. There is a much easier way to get an ID, such as via a ‘dealer’ like 23-year-old Luuk for example. “Years ago, I once made a forged ID card for myself”, he said. “When my friends saw this, they wanted to have one as well. And so, the ball actually started rolling. In no time, everyone in my neighbourhood knew that they should come to me for a fake ID card.”
“Making an ID was so easy that I saw it more as a friend’s service”
The street value of a forged ID card is approximately 20 Euros, but Luuk did not make a lot of money out of his small business. “People didn’t necessarily have to pay me for it. It was so easy that I saw it more as a friend’s service.”
“To make the ID cards I used a good scanner, with which I got the real ID card in A4 format on my computer”, Luuk continued. “Then the search began for numbers that I could cut out and then move somewhere else. For example, if you turn a nine upside down, you can use it as a six. This way you can very easily influence someone’s birth year.” As a true 90’s kid, Luuk only used the Microsoft program Paint to produce his fake ID’s. “Paint is a free program which all of my friends used. In fact, everybody with a computer can create his own fake ID.”
A crucial factor of a fake identity card is, of course, that it cannot be distinguished from a real one. To get the fake date of birth as sharp as possible, Luuk had to copy and paste the numbers on the ID card pixel by pixel. “Sometimes this takes quite some time”, he admits. “But it does result in a date of birth that is almost indistinguishable from a real ID card.”
As Luuk grew up, the demand to fake ID’s in his environment declined. “I have to admit that I was actually happy with that development”, he said. “Over the years, I felt that the security has become stricter. A friend of mine has even been arrested once. Although it ended up well, that was a moment that I realized that it was pretty dangerous what I was doing.”
Figures from Bureau Halt, the Dutch authority which organizes short-term interventions to prevent, combat and punish juvenile crime, show that Luuk’s observations are correct. In 2015, 350 young people were arrested for using a fake ID, compared to 428 one year later. According to Bureau Halt, this increase can largely be explained by the fact that hospitality, police, municipalities and Halt are cooperating more these days.
Making a forged identity card is apparently quite simple, but the supervision has increased over the last couple of years. Our advice to desperate teenagers? Do not try this at home. It saves one a lot of money and effort and there are plenty of fun things to do as a minor. Things that one can only dream of as they get older.