U.S. Customs and Border Protection crack down on fake IDs as students head back to campus

It's back to campus for college kids all over the region and most have come prepared. And, not with their backpacks or snacks, but instead to get into their favorite bar.

It's a warm evening in late August and students at the University of Pennsylvania are back on campus and they've packed some unique luggage.

They've brought something else too - counterfeit identification to help 18, 19 and 20-year-olds buy their booze.

"Where did you get your fake ID?" asked FOX 29's Bruce Gordon.
"Online," said a student, who didn't want to be identified.
"How much was it?" asked Gordon.
"$50.00," said the student.
"Worth it? Good quality?" asked Gordon.
"Yeah, it's decent," said the student.
"Gets you where you need to go?" asked Gordon.
"Usually, yeah," said the student.

All summer long, cargo planes - many from Asia - have been carrying fake IDs to Philadelphia, ordered by underage students, usually acting as a group, says U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Steve Sapp.

"They get together with some friends. They pool their money together and they make an order. We've seen them coming in batches, sometimes two, more often than not, we see a dozen or more in a package," Sapp said.

Hidden in boxes carrying everything from books to silverware. CBP says since mid-May, they've confiscated nearly 500 fake IDs at the Philly airport, representing 20 different states. Some of the IDs are high quality.

"We've seen drivers licenses now - fake drivers licenses - come in with barcodes on them. And, when you take a barcode scanner to them, you can actually read details off that barcode scanner. So, they really have taken great pains to try to make the IDs as good, as authentic, as possible," Sapp explained.

Prices for the fake IDs vary widely, depending on quality and size of order.

"Like $60.00-$300.00," student Victoria Crawford said.
"$60.00 on the low end and $300.00 on the high end?" asked Gordon.
"Yeah," said Crawford.
"That's a lot of money," said Gordon.
"It is," said Crawford.

While students said just about everyone they know who's underage has a fake ID, one student explained they're not actually necessary.

"Especially here. Greek life is so big that you don't need a fake ID to get into a frat house or any on-campus party," said student Kendall Grasela.
"People can drink underage then without getting checked at all," asked Gordon.
"Yeah," said Grasela.