Technology helps thwart those using fake or altered IDs

Mac Thurston, owner of Mac’s Beer and Wine. CREDIT: SHELIA POOLE

Mac Thurston spreads a dozen or so fake or altered IDs from underage customers have used in attempts to buy alcohol, beer or wine at his downtown liquor store.

There are more tucked away in a cigar box behind the register.

The owner of Mac’s Beer and Wine simply shakes his head. He’s seen it all.

His store is located within a short drive - in some cases walking distance - from several intown colleges and universities.

For 32 years he mostly relied on the ID Checking Guide and a well-honed visual check.

But the technology to make fake IDs has gotten better, so Thurston has had to evolve as well.

Today, he employs technology that can be accessed using a cellphone.

IntelliCheck’s Age ID, which is quick and easy to use, uses  smartphones and tablets.It authenticates driver licenses and other forms of identification to prevent the use of altered and fake IDs.A quick scan and a cashier will know immediately whether or not an ID is fake.

“It makes the sale so much more positive,” said Thurston. “It gives us a great deal of confidence at the counter. If the U.S. military uses this kind of technology then, of course, we’re glad to have it and it hasn’t failed us yet.”

Thurston started using about two years ago. The first month, he confiscated 1,000 fake IDs.

Employees at Mac’s Beer and Wine in Atlanta now have a better way to check for fake and altered IDS. CREDIT: SHELIA POOLE

IntelliCheck has partnered with the Massachusetts Package Stores Association to make it available to members as well as the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Underage drinking is a serious public health problem.

In fact, alcohol is the most commonly used drug among  youth in this nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days , 30 percent drank some alcohol; 14 percent binge drank; and 60 percent drove after drinking alcohol.

CEO Bryan Lewis, based in Melville, N.Y., said Georgia is a key market with the high number of colleges and universities and because the penalties for underage drinking “ so harsh. I think it just makes sense.”

There are more than 600 bars, liquor stores, restaurants, concert venue and event locations using Age ID in the United States.

The Age ID app not only scans but verifies the ID. The technology has been around for decades but evolved that reflects today’s challenges and and needs.

A version of Age ID is also used by law enforcement agencies and the military.

Thurston said when caught, 99 percent of the underage would-be drinkers simply walk away.

“The law is the law, ” he said. “And the law says you have to be 21.”

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