Sabrina turns 21 in three days. But before she can get white-girl-wasted by chugging down a fishbowl full of fruity liquor, she’s got to renew her driver’s license. For the ladies of her sorority, this is standard procedure.

She’ll show up to the DMV wearing her hair down but her bangs pinned up, a black t-shirt, and a gold necklace with an anchor charm (the symbol of Delta Gamma). That way, when she hands out extra copies of her Florida license to her unfortunate underage sisters, they can easily recreate the same appearance. For the girls of this university’s Greek community, these fake IDs are a rite of passage.

This may explain how Dr. Julia Martinez, the foremost expert in researching relationships between college students and fake IDs, found that the majority of women in sororities possess fake IDs before the time they turn 21. And even those of us independent from Greek life can agree that not having a fake in college felt like being a social outcast.

So a lot of us broke the law and bought a fake license. According to Martinez’s research, most of the time, we buy an ID off a sibling or a friend, but frequently, we’d order one from some illicit overseas vendor we found in the dark depths of the internet.

And sometimes, our fake ID looked like a self-laminated library card that couldn’t fool even a blind bouncer. Sometimes, if the ID was a real license, the person in our picture looked no more like us than some distant cousin twice removed, with a different race’s skin color and 6 extra inches in height.

In any case, because so many of us were impatient children dying to binge-drink Bacardi, we all have an anecdote of how we got our hands on (or tragically lost) that elusive fake ID. We sought out the most fantastic of these fake ID stories, and share them with you below:

When I was 20 and my older sister was 21, I took her expired license, birth certificate, and social security card to the DMV. I wanted to get a genuine ID with all of her information, but my photo on it. The whole process was going really smoothly until the last step: taking a new picture. At that point, an employee pulled up my sister’s old ID photos, and started looking at the screen, then back at me, with these narrowed, skeptical eyes. She started calling over her supervisors to get a second opinion, and my heart was pounding so heavily I swore they could hear it. Before the DMV director could figure out my fake identity, I darted out the door.

I got my first fake ID when I was 17 years old because I wanted to get my nipples pierced. I got it from my sister’s friend, and it worked at the piercing parlor, but then got taken away my very first week of college.

After that, my buddies started making fake IDs in our dorm room. We’d use Photoshop, paste the image to a hotel key, use some glitter and cellophane to create the holographic effects, and laminate it multiple times to give it the perfect thickness. Every time one of our IDs got taken, we’d just go back and make another one. My friends sold them for $100 a pop, and actually used their fake ID income to pay their way through college.

When we were 16~17, we’d always go into this one sketchy corner store to buy Four Lokos from a guy we knew would accept our fake IDs. So we’re at the counter, he takes my ID, and then chooses some arbitrary price for all our drinks. I pull out my cash, but he won’t take it. He tells me, “I’ll give you the drinks for free if you do a little dance.” My girlfriend and I were extremely creeped out, so we say, “No thanks … We’ll just pay for them.” I put the cash on the counter, grab the drinks, and wait around for a minute to see if he’ll hand the ID back. He doesn’t, and I’m desperate to escape that situation, so we just left without it.

I got my first fake ID in New York City when I was 19. My friend knew a guy who knew a guy, and this guy took my photo and slapped it on a makeshift New Jersey driver's license. It looked pretty legit, except for one thing.

It said I lived at 666 Carcass Street.

That's "carcass" for you. Not "Caracas" as in Venezuela or "Crass" or "Caress" or anything that would make even the smallest amount of sense for a street name. "Carcass," as in a dead body.

It worked once at the all-nude strip club at the edge of town, where I relished in the screaming-bald eagle independence of buying my first illegal-legal Redbull-vodka. But when I tried to use it at a liquor store to buy a handle of Kentucky Deluxe, the clerk took one look at it and told me to fuck off.

"Carcass Street?" he asked — no, demanded — of me.

"I live in a rough neighborhood?" I replied.

"I'm from Jersey, dumbass," he said, and I could hear it in his accent. "Get out of here before I call the cops."

I stuck to chugging Masala cooking wine from that point on.

I’d lent my primary fake to a friend, so I borrowed my boyfriend's sister's ID to try to get into a club. My boyfriend's sister is Colombian and has a very obviously latin name. The bouncer saw that, tries talking to me in spanish, and then I started crying. He kicked me out.

I used to go to bars with my little Korean cousin, who was maybe 19 years old. She’d wait outside while I went in the bar, struck up a conversation with literally any asian woman, then ask to borrow her ID for a second. I’d bring the ID out to my cousin, and she would get in every single time, without fail. We could use the ID of a 50 year old Japanese woman and it legitimately always worked. Bouncers think all Asians look exactly the same.

Me and my bestie are maybe 16, and we’re trying to get into a bar to hang out with a cool older crowd. We both have fakes that belong to 2 of my sister’s friends, and we’ve memorized all the information on our respective IDs.

When we hand the bouncer our IDs, he asks us, “Are you two friends?” I say, “Best friends!” He looks at my friend and asks her, “What’s your friend’s name?” Shit. We forgot to study each other’s IDs. We look at one another, silently acknowledging our fuck-up, and leave.

My dad bought me my first fake ID. I got it from a friend of a friend, who made it himself. And you could tell — it was horrible quality. One night, I was on a date with this boy I was totally infatuated with, and when I tried to order a drink they told me, “We’re gonna have to keep your fake ID.”

I was so upset and embarrassed, so I forced the guy to make me a new ID for free. But the second one was just as bad. On my 21st birthday, I gave my fake to a bouncer, who could earn $50 by telling his boss he confiscated it.

I paid $200 for my first fake ID. It was a Maryland ID with my picture on it, but it had a Florida hologram on it that read “Staff of Florists,” instead of “State of Florida.”

After I lost that one, my friends and I ordered IDs from a website called IDChief. There was a discount for buying in bulk, so six of us got 2 IDs for $200 per person. So I had to bring over $1,000 in cash to a Western Union inside a grocery store to send a moneygram to Zen Wei in Beijing, China. The cashier asked me if I actually knew this person, and I respond, “Of course!” while realizing for the very first time that this could all be a huge scam.

I worried about it for around 3 weeks while our package took forever to come in the mail because it got caught up in customs. It eventually comes, covered in Chinese wrapping paper. Inside was a silk pillow, a large glass pig figurine, and a bunch of smaller glass pig babies. This was extremely confusing, until my sister had the idea to rip open the pillow. Inside, we found all of our IDs wrapped in paper. They were the best fake IDs I've ever had.

[originally published March 17, 2017]