Here is an article posted middletownpress.com on 3/17/2011. One point to address is quoted price of an ID Scanner which they indicate is $2500 to $4000. These prices are way off. Prices are $900 for a good countertop ID Scanner and $1100+ for a mobile unit.
ID scanner best defense against fakes, Conn. liquor store owners say
By ALEXANDRA SANDERS,
Journal Register News Service
MADISON — You need to have a birth date of March 16, 1990, or earlier to purchase alcohol in Connecticut — or do you?
According to minors who buy alcohol, fake identification is easy to get and often works. But officials say that giving minors the boot is now the norm, thanks to stricter enforcement and more advanced technology.
East River Package Store, 270 Boston Post Road, was closed Wednesday after having failed a compliance check by the state Department of Consumer Protection last summer. But despite that — and five other local violations found during the check — stores are passing compliance checks now more than ever.
According to the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, the state in 1998 had a 75 percent failure rate during compliance checks; that number fell to 25 percent by 2010.
“Most shopkeepers, restaurant owners and merchants try to prevent it, but occasionally someone gets through,” said Police Chief John Drumm. “If you go to the Internet, it’s very sophisticated what they provide in terms of fake IDs.”
That is where ID scanners come into play.
“I always recommend spending money on an ID scanner,” said Joshua Hughes, assistant executive director of the Connecticut Package Store Association. “Someone might come in with an ID that looks legitimate, but if they don’t scan it, they run the risk of a massive lawsuit.”
Mark Richter, owner of Stony Creek Package Store in Branford, said his scanner has prevented three or four minors a year from purchasing alcohol.
“The scanner is a 2-D bar code reader, so when it scans the ID, the name, address and date of birth come up, so if it’s scratched out or altered on a license then the barcode shows the real date of birth,” he said. “It’s the way to do it, because it’s so easy to doctor a license.”
Several teens responded to an online request for comment.
A 17-year-old Darien resident said New York City is a “hub of production” for IDs, which cost $100 to $200, depending on the quality, and they take only a day to make.
“The state has stepped up their efforts and so have the forgers,” he said. “If you pay enough and find a good enough man, you can get an ID that includes holographs, bar codes, black light proofing and scannable magnetic strips.
An 18-year-old Branford resident said she is going to a place in Philadelphia to get a fake ID with her friends next week, and she isn’t worried about using it because the place supposedly has a scanner so the purchaser can see that the ID works.
ID scanners range from about $2,500 to $4,000, and Hughes said they are worth the cost, but it often takes more than a scanner to prevent underage purchasing.
“I heard a clerk ask if I was old enough. I asked if they wanted to see my ID and they said no. I told them I wasn’t old enough and they rang me out anyway,” said Catherine LeVasseur, program manager for the Governor’s Prevention Partnership and a former undercover minor. “It’s still shocking to me because I feel like the education is out there.”
Undercover minors are not allowed to lie about their ages, and they can only present their real IDs, but LeVasseur said that, despite honesty, minors still walk out the door with alcohol.
“When we started doing checks, we weren’t seeing scanners,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of solid data on people who have used them, but, from our experience, when you put things like that in place, people are less likely to sell. We have definitely seen an increase in scanners in the last six years.”
Hughes said grocery stores that sell alcohol often don’t have scanners and may have younger employees, and therefore have more violations.
LeVasseur recommended a policy in which everyone has to be carded, so young clerks won’t be embarrassed to card customers, but the president of the Connecticut Package Store Association doesn’t think it’s the best option.
“It’s a ridiculous policy. People are asking 80-year-old women for IDs. There has to be some amount of common sense that’s utilized,” said association President Alan Wilensky. “The most effective deterrent is asking kids how old they are and being vigilant.”
Wilensky uses an ID scanner at Max’s Package Store in East Lyme like “a force field,” and said it has served him well in situations where minors have tried to purchase alcohol.