Fake It Till You Make It – Despite What School Officials Say, Fake IDs Still Exist


Despite what shop owners and school administrators may say, Fake IDs are still relatively common among students.

“The only text I get from her is ‘the cops are coming.’”

On homecoming night, two students, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further legal action, were out buying alcohol. While one waited in the car, the other went into a liquor store and used a fake ID in order to purchase the alcohol.

The students had already been to a less established liquor store that night and succeeded in purchasing alcohol. They felt confident that the fake ID would again be sufficiently convincing where they were heading next, a nicer, more expensive store.

 “We had a decent amount of alcohol in our car already before we went to this really nice liquor store. [Going to that store] was a big mistake,” said the student.

At the store, the student was asked to show her ID. 

“Come with me, I’m going to call the cops.”

“I took it out and they knew that [my ID] was fake. [The cashier] said, ‘come with me, I’m going to call the cops,’” said the student. 

An officer arrived and confiscated the fake ID. The student was given a court date and received punishment for the issue. 

Nevertheless, that fake ID is only one of dozens around the student body. 

Generations of teenagers have used fake IDs to buy alcohol, tobacco and other age-restricted substances. Using fake IDs is common in Boulder, due in part to the University of Colorado’s (CU) campus in the center of town. The students we interviewed impersonated college-age students to buy such substances.

“When you go [into a store] you have to look like you’re 21, so I would just wear sweatpants and a CU sweatshirt,” said the student. “So many people in our grade just walk into a liquor store and buy stuff, and no one knows.”

“So many people in our grade just walk into a liquor store and buy stuff, and no one knows.”

 According to an employee of a Lazy J’s Smoke Shop, near CU, the lines between college students and high schoolers are becoming increasingly blurred. Because of the shop’s location, where the customer base is mostly composed of college students, the ethics of shops are more questionable than ever.

“I would go in with people who had been there [K & K] before. That way, when I went in by myself, they would recognize me and know I wasn’t a cop or that I wasn’t going to rat them out,” said the student.

Morgan Hunt
K&K’s window advertisement. K&K is popularized by CU Students due to its location on the hill.

K & K, a smoke shop on the hill, claims that neither fake IDs nor underage purchases are an issue in the store.

“We’re trained professionally, we’ll know. That stuff [fake IDs] stopped a long time ago,” said an employee of K & K.

Similar to K & K’s claims that they do not see fake IDs in the store, other adults don’t view fake IDs as a current issue. Administrators at Fairview are not in a position where they observe fake IDs on a day-to-day basis.

“It really hasn’t been an issue. I remember growing up and knowing kids with fake IDs, but when you look at the new [IDs], I don’t know how you would possibly fake it,” said Principal Don Stensrud.

Many current and former students at Fairview have had experiences with fake IDs, whether they have one themselves or know those who do.

“If not fake IDs, then people get friends to get things for them, but lots of people have fake IDs,” said one student. 

Adult and student narratives contradict each other, and show how perspective affects decisions regarding these issues.

Richard Denig, the alcohol enforcement officer at the Boulder Police Department, made it clear that fake IDs are still a widespread issue in Boulder.

“I’m up to almost 1,100 fake IDs turned in so far, just this year.”

“I’m up to almost 1,100 fake IDs turned in so far, just this year,” said Denig. 

Shops are not required by law to seize or to report fake IDs. Still, our source, who was caught, observed that high-end liquor stores and smoke shops are generally more inclined to report fake IDs to the police.

The school administration’s oversight of fake IDs and local stores’ willingness to sell controlled substances to minors, more than anything, is putting students at risk. 

While police take action to discourage students from using fake IDs, the true difficulty, Denig explained, is the accessibility of fake IDs. 

“We have absolutely no control over a kid getting on their computer and ordering a fake ID,” said Denig. would take action at the federal level to try to cut down on the websites that sell [fake IDs].”


This article first appeared in The Royal Banner’s December Issue.