McLovin Goes to China
Anyone who watched the movie “Superbad” will remember the nerdy and clueless character with the hilariously unconvincing fake ID, featuring the single name “McLovin.” (If you haven’t, or just want to relive the laugh, you can watch the scene on YouTube here).
Well, according to this rather astonishing article in today’s Washington Post, aspiring underaged drinkers in America now have access to far more convincing means of deception, courtesy of China:
“We’re seeing these false IDs being generated from the same source out of China,” said Steven Williams, chief executive of Intellicheck, which supplies detection equipment to federal agencies, law enforcement and businesses. “There’s a rampant distribution of false IDs . . . from China, from one source.”
That one source — which customers call “the Chinese guy” — is doing a booming business in mail-order fake IDs that use all the latest barcode and hologram technology to imitate the real thing. The operation appears to be linked, via the fake barcodes, to a company called PARTiTek in Nanjing, which denies any involvement. What customers do know is that by ordering online, they can get dozens of near-perfect IDs sent straight from China to their dorm rooms, disguised as a shipment of shoes or similar goods:
The shoe box that arrived in the mail from China contained a cheap pair of shoes. “We thought the Chinese guy had ripped us off” … After initial consternation, she flipped over one of the shoes and ripped open the sole. Out tumbled 22 brand-new, visually perfect driver’s licenses.
Obviously these highly sophisticated fakes raise safety concerns — the Post article leads with the story of a young man who died in a motorcycle crash after using a fake South Carolina drivers license he bought from “the China guy” to buy drinks. But they also raise broader security concerns:
Driver’s licenses took on a new significance in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when it was discovered that the hijackers carried several that had been fraudulently obtained … Now a license gets you through airport security checkpoints and past the lobby guard in secure buildings, and it lets you cash a check.
However, fake IDs that are convincing enough to pass visual inspection can be caught using card-swipe scanners that can instantly validate whether an ID is the real thing or not. The devices can be expensive, but expect to see more airports, banks, department stores, police and, yes, night club bouncers using them to verify your identify. Especially if your name is McLovin.