Parents with college-aged children might want to pay attention to this.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is launching a public awareness campaign urging college students and others to refrain from obtaining and using fake driver’s licenses and identification cards. It's not just illegal, it also opens up the door to identity theft.

Illinois Secretary of State's Office
Illinois Secretary of State's Office

First the illegal part. According to the Secretary of State's office:

Anyone convicted of possessing or using a fraudulent driver’s license or ID card will receive a one-year suspension of his or her driving privileges. In addition, they face up to one to three years in prison, and a mandatory minimum fine of $500 up to $25,000 or 50 hours of community service.

In a news conference, the Secretary of State noted that the Internet has made obtaining fake IDs easier.  Overseas companies advertise fake IDs for a fee. Officials say some students are all too eager to buy them and in the process are providing personal information to these disreputable companies.

Plus, even if identity theft doesn't concern students, there's a good chance of being caught. Secretary of State Police experts travel the state training liquor establishments, law enforcement, banks and other commercial entities on how to spot a fake ID.  Officials say while a fake ID may look genuine, those with a trained eye and equipment such as a black light or a laser pen can quickly tell the difference.

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