A pack of photo paper, laminating sheets, spray glue: it sounds like a list of things you need for the school art class. In fact they are ingredients for a fake identity card. Add a dash of Photoshop expertise, and you can earn yourself £1,000 (about $1,500) a week, according to a former vendor, a privately educated British schoolboy, who used to sell fake cards at £25 a time to his classmates.
The trade is even more profitable in America. Because the legal drinking age is 21, demand is higher and buyers are richer. An ex-student says he was able to sell bogus IDs for $120 each. Whereas he found holograms and bar codes on American driving licenses easy to forge, he failed to copy the magnetic strips. Unwisely, perhaps, some American states are now phasing out licenses with magnetic strips in favor of cheaper ones with bar codes.
The business of forged identity cards is booming, particularly in the Anglosphere. A study in 2009 of American university students found that 17% of freshmen and 32% of seniors owned a false ID. Today the numbers are even higher, experts reckon. Bars near American campuses have started to ask for two kinds of identification.