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Increased use of fake IDs is causing police to crack down. | Pexels

Stu­dents may find their IDs more closely scru­ti­nized in the upcoming months, thanks to a recent increase in the use of fake IDs in and around Hillsdale.

“Based on infor­mation we have obtained from an ongoing inves­ti­gation, we have reason to believe it may be wide­spread in our com­munity,” Chief of Police Scott Hephner said.

Hephner said police became aware of the problem when a young person pro­vided a fake license to a police officer. According to public records, an 18-year-old was arrested on Jan. 18 for pro­viding fake ID to police, among other charges.

“With new tech­nologies, it’s really hard to tell,” Hephner said. “They’re not as obvious anymore.”

Fake iden­ti­fi­cation cards can now have valid mag­netic strips and holo­grams, security mea­sures that were pre­vi­ously dif­ficult to replicate.

“We’ve come across some really good ones,” Hephner said, adding the department has con­fis­cated fake iden­ti­fi­cation cards from both college stu­dents and area youth.

Even stu­dents who can legally pur­chase alcohol have said their iden­ti­fi­cation is being more heavily scru­ti­nized.

Senior Hannah Niemeier was a pas­senger in a car during a traffic stop in Hillsdale on Sat­urday night. A law enforcement officer asked for the licenses of everyone in the vehicle.

“I’ve never had a cop ask for anybody’s ID who’s not the driver,” Niemeier said.

Junior Erin Fla­herty, who turned 21 over winter break, also reported having her iden­ti­fi­cation inspected by a cashier.

“Some­thing about it looked fishy to her,” Fla­herty said.

Senior Maria Theisen, who turned 21 in March, said her ver­tical enhanced license tripped up the cashier at the Hillsdale Brewing Company.

“I’ve never been ques­tioned with it before at the bar, but at the brewery, they ques­tioned me about it,” Theisen said.

Theisen added she thinks this instance is part of a larger trend.

“I’ve def­i­nitely noticed that places that sell alcohol are looking a little bit more care­fully at IDs,” she said.

Local busi­nesses haven’t nec­es­sarily noticed this trend, however.

“We’re really proactive in training our cashiers,” Market House owner Brett Boyd said. “It’s not some­thing we’ve seen here at the store. We try to be proactive in val­i­dating.”

Owner of Hillsdale Brewing Company Felicia Finch agreed.

“We haven’t seen it to my knowledge,” Finch said, “but we’ve only been open a week.”

Hephner said some local busi­nesses may be unfa­miliar with the design of out-of-state iden­ti­fi­cation cards.

For now, police are trying to update their ability to rec­ognize new tech­nologies in false iden­ti­fi­cation.

“We’re trying to find the best way to identify what we’re seeing now,” Hephner said.

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Jordyn Pair
Jordyn Pair is from Milford, Michigan and plans to study Rhetoric and Public Address and Journalism. She has previously written for Spinal Column and The Madonna Herald, Madonna University's school newspaper. She enjoys writing, photography, and videography, as well as choir, martial arts, and blogging. She plans to pursue a career in journalism. email: jpair@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @jordynpair