The Latest Chinese Export? Fake IDs

Perhaps it was inevitable. Between China’s reputation for exporting counterfeit goods and its blatant piracy in the form of faux Apple and Ikea stores, it isn’t a huge leap to learn that they’ve expanded into the fake ID market.

But these aren’t the blurry, smudgy photocopies of your (misspent) youth. The Massachusetts IDs, which can be ordered online for $200 and shipped within two weeks, are indistinguishable to the untrained eye, and their holograms, when scanned by ultraviolet light, don’t even register as problematic with the TSA. These companies have so far managed to avoid detection by routing their packages through the Middle East or, in the turducken of counterfeit scams, hiding them within the sole of a presumably faux pair of shoes.

Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, told South Coast Today that he’s seen an uptick in the number of IDs being ordered in New England in the past few months, most notably during college breaks, and last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D. NY) moved to block payments to Chinese dealers, most of whom, they speculate, are in some way affiliated with organized crime.

Getting a fake ID is already a pretty dumb idea — you can be fined $200 and face up to three months in jail in Massachusetts if you’re caught by police — but security experts note that anyone buying one of these IDs is providing someone else with their name, date of birth, address and credit card number. It’s basically asking for identity theft to happen, so maybe you should save time by learning how to say it in Chinese.