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Detecting Fake ID Cards


It's not always easy to identify a minor.  A person's physical characteristics, mannerisms, clothing, facial features and cosmetics can be very misleading and give the impression of a much older and mature individual.  For these reasons, it is recommended that anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 be considered a potential minor and should be asked to provide proper identification and the licensee should document it.

What Are The Legally Acceptable Forms of ID In Pennsylvania?

  • A valid photo driver's license issued by the PA Department of Transportation or any state.
  • A valid photo identification card issued by the PA Department of Transportation or any state.
  • A valid armed forces identification card containing the holder's photograph.
  • A valid passport, passport card or travel visa containing the holder's photograph.

How to Card


RAMP recommends you use the "F.E.A.R." method of carding each time you card a patron.
  1. Feel For:
Glue line or bumpy surfaces by the picture or birth date.
Pin holes on the surface.
Thickness of an ID. If it's been re-laminated, it may be thicker.

  2. Examine:
The photo and physical description. They should match the person handing you the ID.
The expiration date. You CANNOT accept an expired ID.
The birth date. Do your math. Are they 21?
Whether or not the ID is a duplicate. If it is, ask for another form of ID.
The state logo. If it's partially missing or appears altered, the ID might be fake.
The hologram - does it look genuine?
The card's reverse side. Look for blurred lettering and credibility disclaimers.
Whether it is an out-of-state license. Use an ID checking guide when you're looking at an unfamiliar license.

  3. Ask:
About basic information on the card, such as the birth date, middle initial, zip code, age, etc.
For a second form of ID. People with fakes rarely carry back-up identification.
Them to complete and sign a Declaration of Age card (PLCB-931).

  4. Return:
If you are satisfied that the proof of age is valid, you may permit the individual to be served.
If you're not convinced, however, do not serve them.

Legal Forms of Defense

Proof of carding is one of the most important duties of licensees and employees.  Each and every time you card a patron, you should be able to prove that you did.  Whether you question the ID or not, this practice, done correctly, can greatly reduce liability. 

If a licensee wishes to defend him or herself against a sales-to-minors charge, they must implement one of the forms of defense allowed in the Pennsylvania Liquor Code:
Photographs,
Photocopies,
Videotapes,
Transaction scan device,
A completed Declaration of Age Card (PLCB-931).

Contact your RAMP Office

  Eastern: 610-940-1217
  Central: 717-558-2160
  Western: 412-723-0109
  Toll Free: 866-275-8237