In DJ Goldfinger’s Stubblefields office lie multiple stacks of confiscated fake IDs from Washington, Idaho, Arizona and two from the same woman in South Carolina.
With overseas companies in China printing fake IDs for minors, Goldfinger said the game of fake IDs has changed.
“They’re like trading cards,” Goldfinger said. “Usually, you would have to go get an ID that looked like somebody.”
He said the quality of fake IDs being printed overseas concerns him the most. Additionally, Goldfinger said he is unsure of what companies will develop next.
Gary Jenkins, Pullman chief of police, said the department intercepted a package of fake IDs from China with the help of the U.S. Postal Service last year.
The department works very closely with Stubblefields, he said, and has officers near the bar in peak activity hours.
“Our best chance of addressing this is working with local businesses,” Jenkins said. “The technology to produce fake IDs that replicate actual IDs have improved so much.”
As a way to prevent minors getting into the bar with fake IDs, Goldfinger said he has begun to give $5 incentives to his employees who catch intruders at the door.
“One of the main things to catching these IDs is being a part of the community,” Goldfinger said. “We cannot be a bar and think we’re only dealing with people 21 and older.”
Bob Cady, owner of the Cougar Cottage, said the bar receives the most fake IDs after breaks in the school year.
The most common IDs the bar receives come from Idaho, Montana and Arizona, Cady said, which are often produced in China. However, he said the fake IDs are really easy to spot if they are the older state versions.
“The Arizona IDs are unique, and they get passed around quite a bit because they don’t expire for a long time,” he said.
In addition, he said the newer version of IDs for Idaho and Montana are harder to replicate.
While examining an ID, he said the staff looks to see first if the person is 21, checks if the ID is expired and then inspects the card to see if it has been made out of different material.
Afterwards, the staff does a facial feature ratio examination with the fake ID and the person in possession of the card.
“We’re under heavy scrutiny, and the Liquor Control Board is down here all the time,” he said. “For as long as we have been on campus, we are more susceptible to that risk of people serving to minors, but our staff is constantly trained."
In comparison to other establishments on College Hill, Cady said the bar does not receive as many fake IDs.
Goldfinger said after he collects a stack of fake IDs over a period of time at Stubblefields, he turns them over to the Pullman Police Department and the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
For safety purposes, Goldfinger said the bar also has 16 cameras spread throughout two floors of the building, as well as a security chart for employees to follow.
He said he has started to tweet the fake IDs on the bar’s Twitter account because employees were receiving so many of them.
Goldfinger said a dollar earned by serving someone underage isn’t a “good dollar.”
“We just want to run a really good establishment, and alcohol can be dangerous if it is used in the wrong way,” he said.
When employees of the bar suspect a customer has a fake ID, Goldfinger said the police will generally confiscate the ID and arrest the person in possession of the card.
However, he said the bar does not try to hold any person in the case of a fake ID and gives them the opportunity to leave.
“We may have saved someone’s life in that situation,” Goldfinger said. “It’s a cat and mouse game, and you need to have good people at your door.”
The bar receives the most fake IDs at the beginning of the school year, Goldfinger said.
During the football season, employees also use ID scanners at the door for the big crowds and for people who try to slip through the cracks of security, he said.
When fake IDs are collected from local businesses, Jenkins said the stacks of replicated cards help the department see the latest trends.
“I’d like to see some way perhaps for more businesses who sell alcohol to work more cooperatively,” Jenkins said. “It compromises the businesses because they’re ultimately responsible to ensure that they don’t get people under 21 in their establishments.”