CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The decision to get a fake ID was easy.
The 14-year-old south Charlotte boy wanted a slingshot, but Wal-Mart won't sell one to customers under 16.
So, the boy said, he went to a friend. Thirty minutes later, an old school ID card was transformed to make the boy 16.
"I just used it for one thing, the slingshot," said the boy, now a 15-year-old student at Charlotte's Providence High School who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But some people use [them] constantly for everything. I'm sure if you went to my school and went through all the lockers, you could find at least 100 fake IDs."
Cary made fake Florida and Colorado licenses on his personal computer that sold for $30 to $40 apiece, said Qureshi.
Inn Boise Area Ihg Hotel Holiday university By Express "His IDs were actually pretty good," Qureshi said. "There's no way we could hold a clerk responsible for selling to [his clients]."
Law enforcement officials say some teens are beginning to carry fakes so good even they sometimes have trouble spotting them. ALE agents carry books that describe legal licenses on their nightly patrols.
But with more than 550 valid state license variations available in the United States, it's difficult to keep up with the latest changes, said David Myers, a Florida fake-documents expert who trains law enforcement agencies around the country.
Mississippi, for example, just came out with 10 versions of its license, he said.
Most counterfeiters don't even bother searching for obscure licenses to copy. Several state licenses - including the Carolinas' - can be replicated with enough accuracy to fool most officials, Myers said.
State license makers and security experts try to combat counterfeiters by adding digital watermarks, microtext printing, invisible inks only visible under certain light, holograms and other devices in licenses. But all a counterfeiter has to do is make a fake look good enough to pass a quick inspection.
License scanners or authenticators are better about checking the validity of a license, but such devices are years away from being the norm in clubs, convenience stores or even police cars, Myers said.