Effective Techniques for Checking IDs and Preventing Underage Drinking

As a server, one of your most critical responsibilities is to ensure that alcoholic beverages are served only to patrons of legal drinking age. The consequences of underage drinking can be severe and far-reaching, not only for the individuals involved but also for the establishment you work for and your position as a server. Providing alcohol to minors can result in fines, penalties, and even the loss of the establishment’s liquor license. With proper server training and adherence to state laws, you can confidently enforce age restrictions and maintain a safe environment for customers while avoiding legal complications. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential techniques for checking customer IDs and provide guidance on how to spot fake IDs, arming you with the necessary skills to prevent underage drinking in your workplace.

As a certified professional, you should be aware that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. It’s your duty to require appropriate identification from every customer who appears underage or orders an alcoholic beverage, even if they appear to be of legal drinking age. This proactive approach helps reduce the risk of unintentionally serving alcohol to minors, protecting the establishment and your job.

Know the Different Types of Identification

To effectively check IDs, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the various forms of identification accepted in your state. Most commonly, valid forms of ID include state-issued driver’s licenses, identification cards, and passports. Each form of identification has its unique features, and it’s crucial for you to recognize these details to quickly and accurately assess authenticity. Some essential aspects to consider include:

1. The photograph’s quality and appearance should be clear and resemble the individual presenting the ID.

2. The holographic security features should be visible and consistent with the state-issued design.

3. The expiration date should be valid and unaltered.

Make it a habit to stay informed about the latest changes and updates to the designs and security features of these ID formats to ensure your expertise remains current.

Recognize the Signs of a Fake or Altered ID

Having a vigilant eye for counterfeit IDs is crucial in preventing underage drinking. Fake IDs can often present subtle discrepancies that require a keen eye and knowledge of common forgery techniques. When checking a customer’s ID, be on the lookout for the following warning signs:

1. Irregularities in the card’s texture or thickness, as counterfeit IDs may feel flimsy or poorly constructed.

2. Misaligned or blurry text, which may indicate a poorly crafted forgery or attempts to alter the information.

3. Discolored holograms, uneven laminate, or other inconsistencies in the card’s finish.

By staying. updated on prevalent forgery techniques and developing a discerning eye, you can more effectively spot fake IDs and protect your establishment from underage drinking.

Put Effective ID Checking Techniques to Use

Once you’ve mastered the recognition of valid IDs and fake ID warning signs, it’s time to incorporate these skills into your day-to-day server duties. Follow these best practices for proper ID checking:

1. Hold the ID in your hands and inspect it closely. Feeling the card’s texture and examining details upfront can reveal potential discrepancies.

2. Check the expiration date and ensure it has not passed. An expired ID is not a valid form of identification.

3. Compare the photo presented on the ID with the person in front of you. Look for similar facial features and other distinct characteristics.

4. Verify the birth date and calculate the customer’s age. Be sure they meet the legal drinking age requirement.

Implementing these techniques into your routine will ensure that you are consistently verifying the age of patrons and preventing access to alcohol for those who are underage.

Establish a Consistent Policy for Checking IDs

To effectively prevent underage drinking, it’s crucial to maintain consistency in your ID checking methods. Establish a clear policy for checking IDs and ensure it is well communicated to your team members and customers. By implementing a standard procedure for verification, you proactively demonstrate the establishment’s commitment to responsibly serving customers while maintaining a safe environment for all. This practice also provides crucial support in the event of any legal challenges that may arise, showcasing that the establishment has made a diligent effort to ensure compliance with alcohol service laws.


Preventing underage drinking as a server is vital to the security and reputation of the establishment you work for, as well as your professional standing. By mastering effective techniques for checking customer IDs and spotting fake IDs, you can confidently uphold age restrictions at your workplace. Invest in your server training and education to maintain a safe and legally compliant dining environment, ensuring a pleasant experience for all customers and the continued success of your establishment. Take control of your server education by enrolling in a reputable training program and earning the state-required certification. Gain the confidence and skills needed to thrive in your career and contribute to a safer, more enjoyable dining atmosphere for all patrons.

Looking to become a responsible and well-informed server? ABC Server Training is the solution you need! Our alcohol service training program is designed to equip you with the knowledge you need to reduce risks and keep your patrons safe. Sign up today and earn your certification with ABC Server Training – the name you can trust for quality training!