MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Mid-South bars, businesses and airports are faced with a new high-tech threat to their security.
Several companies said fake IDs have become more accessible due to the Internet and the realistic fakes interfere with security protocols businesses have in place to keep customers safe.
The WMC Action News 5 Investigators obtained a handful of IDs confiscated from wannabe club-goers who didn't make it past the door.
"You don't take a chance if it's in doubt, you don't take a chance. You got bartenders whose A-B-C license is on the line if they serve them! And the doorman not doing his job correctly could cost everyone in here their jobs," said Charlie Barnett, with Purple Haze Night Club.
Barnett discovered these fake IDs have minor's real names, actual pictures and even their authentic signatures.
"On a yearly basis about 50-100, and we cut them up and throw them away every year. Just throw them in the garbage can," stated Barnett.
Within seconds, a simple Google search pulled up web stores selling the phony licenses.The websites allowed customers to pick the state you want, upload your picture, and a copy of your signature. The sites stated that within weeks the fake ID should show up to your door.
Some companies have made these fake IDs even more realistic by using holograms on the front and bar codes on the back that fool a scan test.
Executive Director of Beale Street Merchants Association Ken Taylor stated that security on Beale Street is trained to spot the fakes.
"For example, here the Texas one, compared to a different one, it should always be blue. It's faded. Our merchants and our bartenders would be able to tell it's fake right away," said Executive Director of Beale Street Merchants Association Ken Taylor.
Beale Street Merchants Association and bars on Beale used a handheld device that takes detection a step further.
"We have a little tool that we have and it actually allows us to scan the person's ID and when we scan the ID it actually brings up the person's age," stated Taylor.
The scanner flagged the fake Texas ID. But the next one he tested passed. In fact, 7 of the 8 FAKE IDs cleared the electronic scanner.
"It shows the ID is valid, but that's one of the reasons why here on Beale Street, while we use technology, we are not totally dependent on it." said Taylor.
The Memphis International Airport is one place where there is no room for error. Since 2015, at least two passengers have tried to get through security with scannable fake IDs. TSA agents were quick to react.
"They will notify the airport police. We would respond, we would interview the passenger, do a criminal background check, and also confiscate the ID if it's found to be fraudulent" stated Memphis International Airport Public Information Officer Glen Thomas.
Sources told the WMC Action News 5 Investigators sex traffickers force victims to use fake IDs when traveling through airports. Outstanding felony warrants are another reason travelers try to pass themselves off as someone else.
But if they are caught, they could face stiff punishments.
"It is a misdemeanor, so you could be charged with a misdemeanor if you were to attempt to come through security with a fake ID," stated Glen Thomas.
According to Tennessee law using a fake ID comes with a maximum punishment is 11 months and 29 days in jail, a mandatory loss of driver's license for a period of one year and a fine of up to $200 /or 5 to 30 days in jail.
Whether you're trying to get a seat in first class or a seat at the bar, these fakes will only get you so far.