Checking identification is a vital aspect of every bartender’s life, and with it comes the inevitable: underage patrons touting fake IDs Whether they’re working at a dive bar in a college town where a shoddy driver’s license is a regular presence or working the door at a high-end bar where imposters are more rare, every bartender is trained to look out for the telltale signs. But every now and then, industry folks see fake IDs that are so obviously faux that they’ve soared past risky and ended up in the land of the ridiculous. Though it can be a cagey subject for some pros not many would go on record — we asked bartenders to share the worst fake IDs they’ve ever seen. For some of them, it was their own. Here’s what they said.

“I’ve seen a fair number of fake IDs working in a college town, but the worst is probably when parents come with their kids for parents weekend. Your kid needs their own ID, and no, I can not take your word for it that they are 21. California doesn’t care if you ‘take responsibility for them;’ I’ll still be paying a fine if I get caught serving them. Also, Facebook is not an ID!” —Adam Sandroni, Bartender, Test Pilot, Santa Barbara, Calif.

“Several years ago, when Visa and MasterCard used a hologram of a bird on their California-issued credit cards as added security, I was working the door at a Los Angeles bar when a group of guys tried to pass off as being from Hawaii. They even said ‘aloha’ when asked for ID. Each one of them had the same hologram of a bird on their IDs. I had just received a new credit card in the mail that same day, and I recognized the hologram. I pulled my wallet out and showed them what a coincidence it was that my Visa card must have also been issued in Hawaii because it has the same hologram. ‘Good try guys, but you’re not getting in,’ I said.” —Randy Carmenaty, bartender, Reforma, Palm Springs, Calif.

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“The worst fake ID situation I’ve encountered, unfortunately, was with my own fake ID. The ID said I was 24 years old, 5-foot-4-inches tall, 135 pounds, and that I wore eyeglasses. At the time, I was 17, 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, and never wore glasses in my life. I put on glasses, acted as cool as a high school kid could using an ID, and it worked like a charm — until one evening when the [bar’s] normal security guy was replaced by a police officer. The officer looked at the ID and said, ‘This isn’t you.’ She took a folder out of the podium’s drawer and began to put my ID into it. Without thinking about any repercussions, I grabbed it out of her hand and turned to walk away. The police officer stepped around the podium and told me to stop, so of course, I started running. When I looked back, she started running, too. Luckily, I was in pretty good physical shape, so I kept running. The police officer must have been a distance runner. She slowly started to gain on me, but never got close enough. We ran for what was a little over two miles — we went back later to confirm — [before], she yelled, ‘I hope you learn your lesson, good luck!’ She stopped chasing me, and I made it.” —Gabriel Sanchez, general manager, Midnight Rambler at The Joule, Dallas

“When I was 19, all my friends were 21. I bought a fake ID off of a guy I worked with that kind of looked like me, but he was 6-foot-2 and I am not. The bouncer looked at it and was like, ‘You’re not 6-foot-2’ and I said ‘Oh yeah, I lied to the DMV.’ And the bouncer said, ‘OK, I’m going to keep this ID, and if you want it back you can go get a cop.’ So I left.” —Brandon Thrash, general manager and beverage director, Middle Child Clubhouse, Philadelphia

“I’m originally from Massachusetts and a young woman came into MilkBoy with an ID from my hometown of Haverhill, Mass. When I started talking to her and pronouncing [my town] the way it’s said (hav-rill) she looked at me incredulously and told me, ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about — that’s not how it’s pronounced.’ I proceeded to show her my old ID from said hometown and told her to have a good day. She and her friends quickly left.” —Cory Elmi, director of operations, MilkBoy Philly, Philadelphia