Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service


Identify and Discourage the use of Fake ID

When you suspect fake ID, or have any other concerns about the authenticity of ID, you must refuse service. Do so in a polite but authoritative manner. Express regret that you cannot serve them. Do not be judgmental or try to embarrass the individual. Return the ID and make a note of the incident in your establishment's logbook, discussed later in this section.

Use the following tips to identify and discourage the use of fake ID:

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1. Check if the ID is counterfeit.

Counterfeiters might be able to replicate some - but not usually all - of these features using advanced technology.

2. Compare the person to the photo.

These days, hairstyles and colors (and even eye colors) can be changed easily. Look at facial features like height and positioning of cheekbones and the spacing between the eyes. Gender, height, and weight information are worth checking as well.

3. Look for signs of tampering.

If the card is in a plastic sleeve, wallet or purse, ask to have it removed. Look for wrinkles, bubbling or peeling. Run your fingers over the card's face and edges to check that the seals are intact. Note inappropriate raised or bumpy surfaces or uneven edges. Be especially vigilant around the areas of the date of birth and photo. Consider the thickness of the ID. Does it seem multilayered? That could be a sign of after-issue lamination. Ensure the typeface is consistent throughout. Check the reverse side. Counterfeiters will often spend a disproportionate amount of time on the front of a fake ID but merely photocopy the back. Look for blurred lettering or lack of focus.

4. Make sure that ID is authentic.

If out-of-province ID is presented, you should have a current book of valid IDs close at hand. There are references available that show examples of valid North American IDs. Have a copy at the door and a backup copy stored in the office. If you are not sure of a piece of ID's authenticity, you must refuse entry and alcohol service to that individual. When checking IDs, you may come across an ID that you are unfamiliar with. Refer to the resource book that has samples of all North American IDs. See the Resources section for further information.

5. Check the second piece of ID.

Examine the secondary, supporting ID with the same vigilance you use for the primary piece. Ensure the information on both cards matches. If you are still unsure, ask for a third piece of ID.

6. Ask the person to verify the signature.

If you suspect an ID to be false or tampered with, request that the person verify their signature. To test the signature, ask the person to sign and date a piece of paper, and compare it to the ID. Also, write the driver's license number (and other ID information) on the paper and keep the sample in the logbook.

7. Watch body language and behaviour.

Look for signs of nervousness. Darting eyes and fidgeting may be signs of someone trying to pass off a fake ID. Are they trying to distract you with questions about the band, cover charge, hours, etc.? Is the guest being flirtatious or acting overly friendly? Avoid distractions and scrutinize the ID.

8. Talk to the person.

Make eye contact. Ask them some random questions. What high school did they go to? What year did they graduate? How old were they? What is their zodiac or Chinese horoscope sign? What does their middle initial stand for? How do they spell their middle name? What is their postal code? There should be no hesitation in answering any of these questions.

9. Maintain a professional staff image.

Hospitable, friendly and polite staff encourage a hospitable, friendly and polite atmosphere. By having well-trained and disciplined floor staff as an example, guests tend to be more respectful of the environment and behave in a more positive manner. Most likely, minors will choose to try their luck elsewhere where the threshold of professionalism is not so high and where rules or procedures may be broken or ignored.

Monitor customer conduct
Being alert to potential problems is not the sole territory of managers or wait staff. It can begin with a valet parking attendant or a host or security staff at the door, someone who is in a position to watch the behaviour of customers arriving at the establishment. Bus staff that are clearing tables can easily monitor the behaviour at nearby occupied tables. Take the time to talk to your guests. This will help determine their level of intoxication and you can watch for physical and behavioural changes. Working cooperatively can help to avoid problems before they occur. Where one employee may have missed problematic behaviour, another may spot it.