GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND (WUSA)--Police have a warning about fake IDs that young people nationwide are purchasing from a very popular website.
9 Wants You to Know that buyers under 21 may be getting a lot more out of the transaction than an identification card.
If you're in high school or college, there's a pretty good chance you've heard of ID Chief. But if you're a parent, you probably have no clue. Teens say it's an easy way to get a fake i.d., not realizing their real identities are being stolen in the process.
Ironically, the website reads, "We are located in a safe country. Your info is safe with us."
That's part of the sales pitch behind IDChief.ph, the wildly popular China-based website that appears to be doing a booming business.
The IDs feature holograms, encrypted personal information and a level of sophistication so high that they're able to pass through scanners used by bars and liquor stores to prevent minors from buying booze.
"The person's name, his date of birth, that information is being encrypted right on the strip so when you scan the driver's license, it will come up with valid information on the front. Where in the old days, they didn't have the ability to do that," said Montgomery County Police Officer Bill Morrison.
Unsuspecting teenagers may be buying more than access to alcohol. They're being targeted for identity theft.
"ID Chief is selling their information. And kids are now finding out that they have thousands of, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt," said Officer Morrison.
And, according to law enforcement, the Chinese scam artists are heading to students' Facebook pages to cull additional information to further their scheme.
Remarkably, the site even warns buyers to beware of fake id scams. It reads, "'It's not like you can file a police report for your bad fake id."
With the help of Montgomery County Police and Sarah, a police intern, 9 News Now ordered a fraudulent Pennsylvania driver's license. We uploaded her signature and photograph and as required, wired 200 dollars via Western Union.
Our fake ids arrived, after making the 8,000 mile journey from Gwangzhou, China to Gaithersburg, Maryland.
They came packaged in an envelope marked bracelet. Inside was a gift box and an actual red bracelet. But underneath the padding, wrapped in plain white paper, were a pair of fake ids.
"This is as authentic as it can possibly be," said Montgomery County Police Sgt. Mark White.
They even passed the black light test-often used by police to detect fake ids in dark places, like bars or nightclubs.
"I wouldn't consider this fake at all. I wouldn't think twice about this id," said Sgt. White.
Police warn that anyone who's underage and using a fake ID faces a penalty especially harsh by teenager's standards. They could lose their driver's license for up to a year and it may impact the cost of your car insurance.
Written by Andrea McCarren
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.COM