Exposing effective, yet fake ID's
MILWAUKEE - An explosive I-Team investigation that could be making it easier for terrorists and criminals to operate right here in the U.S. -- even on the city streets of Milwaukee.
The I-Teams Rob Koebel bought a specific fake ID so good, that it could be a real threat to our national security.
It's really scary, we are talking about not just fake ID's and driver's licenses for kids to drink underage -- but what others could, and have been doing with them.
Fake ID's on college campuses like Marquette University are nothing new. Caffrey's Bar has two large boxes full of confiscated fake ID's. It's hard to get one pass these guys. A bouncer at the bar, Eric, was shown the ID that the I-Team bought.
Eric: "It looked like it came from the DMV downtown."
I-Team's Rob Koebel: "They would probably get in wouldn't they?"
Even the bar's owner Mike Vitucci put our ID to the test by scanning the bar code on the back. All the correct info popped up. "That's good, that's beyond good it's quite scary actually," said Vitucci.
The I-Team took the same ID's to a veteran detective with 28 years experience. According to Waukesha County Sheriff Detective Steve Pederson, "It looks legitimate."
Remember ID's are used to board planes, trains, establish credit. The quality of the ones the I-Team bought are so good -- the federal government is worried about how many are out there and how they are being used.
ICE Special Agent Anthony Ho told the I-Team, "We view that as a potential national security threat."
So how did the I-Team get our hands on such a real looking ID? It was easy. We just went to the Internet.
The I-Team isn't going to name the company but followed their simple instructions.
The I-Team picked a Wisconsin drivers license, typed in a birth date, took a picture and not long after, the I-Team got an email with more instructions: just wire $200 via Western Union and a few weeks later, a silver package from China arrives. The customs receipt claims it's a metal puzzle sample.
A closer look at the package reveals, hidden, underneath the puzzle, wrapped in paper was the I-Team's two Wisconsin driver's licenses. Perfectly legal to buy -- but illegal to use.
Rob Koebel: "Could that be a start of getting a whole bunch of other ID's?"
Waukesha County Sheriff's Detective Steve Pederson: "It certainly could be."
The company makes these ID's say whatever you want them to -- you can put any name, any age.
In this case, with my co-worker's permission, I became fellow I-Team investigator, Steve Chamraz -- just to show how easy it is to steal someone's identity. It has been done many times.
Boarding planes and passing security checks is what worries Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents the most.
"With that technology someone could theoretically get past the TSA checkpoint," said ICE Special Agent Anthony Ho.
Last July -- the Cook County Sheriff's Office intercepted more than 1,700 of those ID's, catching them in the mail.
All of the ID's -- coming from the same company in China.
Understandable, considering it offers a discount if you order in bulk. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart calls it a tough battle. "Good luck shutting down the web sites. It's very, very tough," said Sheriff Dart.
Back at Caffrey's Bar in Milwaukee -- Eric the bouncer shared his final thoughts about the fake ID's.
"I hope this is the last one I ever see," said Eric.
The I-Team destroyed the fake ID after the story aired, so that it could never be used for illegal activity.