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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - “This is illegal. Do not do it. We’re going to be looking for it.” 

That was the public service announcement given to the Morgantown community and West Virginia University students last fall by the Morgantown Police Department ahead of their crackdown on fake and fraudulent identification. 

In just three weekend checks, the Department, along with the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, has identified more than 70 individuals using fraudulent state, IDs, military IDs and drivers licenses.  

Each of those people also had multiple fake IDs. 

“With the other businesses that we’re working with, the bars and everything, they’ve seized five, 600 in total here in Morgantown area since August,” said Chief Ed Preston. 

“They’re presenting them and trying to purchase alcohol or gain access to places or sometimes drive vehicles when they you know don’t have a license to drive vehicles,” he continued. 

Those caught with fake IDs are fined $500, and face more series issues because it’s not just illegal to possess the ID, it’s also illegal to buy alcohol underage. 

“In addition to the criminal fines and everything else, there’s also a loss of your drivers license for six months,” Chief Preston said.  

Chief Preston also said technology to detect fake IDs is advancing and officers now have the help of a cell phone program. 

“It knows, in working with the different states and lawful IDs to get the codes, so we know whether it’s a fake ID or not,” he explained. “It’s telling us whether it’s a real ID as it comes across. While it may scan and show up the information it’s tell us well this is in the improper format.” 

There’s more to this than just taking the fake IDs off the street, it’s also about identifying the source. 

“We’ve turned those sites in to federal authorities and they’re working on shutting those illicit websites down as well so there’s a number of things that are going on,” said Chief Preston. 


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