Phony as a three-dollar bill

It’s not hard to guess which are the most popular forms of black market documents. Even the most straightlaced of us have heard that folks of the under-21 variety go crazy for any fake ID that will get them into a Corner bar. A Corner bartender says he’s seen all variety of fake IDs in five years. “You can definitely tell when they’re professionally made and when some guy tried to make them on his computer,” he says. “Most of them are made by other students, who are fairly good at it,” he says. “I’ve heard that they are upwards of $75 or $80.” Seems like a fairly good deal for a jumpstart into the adult drinking world.

But the stakes are much higher for illegal immigrants, whose IDs can mean getting through without incident during a traffic stop or even getting a job. As a result, immigrants seem to spend a lot more on their fake documentation, up to $1,500, according to one source. Worker identification cards are big among immigrants, according to Albemarle Police Lieutenant John Teixeira. Such IDs, he says, can go for a “really cheap” $25-30, all the way to $300. These documents are purchased just like the dorm-made fake IDs—person-to-person, behind closed doors.

Other forms of documents constitute a grey market in Virginia. Illegal in some states, “novelty” diploma websites can whip you up an imitation University of Virginia diploma for under $200. Want the transcripts, too? For an extra $85, no problem.

Markets for other documents have also completely moved online. Turns out, you’d be hard-pressed to find a real, live chap to write your term paper for you anymore, no matter how fat your checkbook. Apparently, online sites have taken all the personality out of being a cheat.

Fake ID for underage student from UVA: $75-80+
This price is from a longtime Corner bartender.

Fake ID for immigrants: $300-1,500
According to Lieutenant John Teixeira with the Albemarle Police Department, local immigrants will pay a lot for real-looking worker ID cards, or, what they think are real-looking ID cards. These cards are higher-priced partly because they’re higher quality than the dorm-made ones suited for getting into Corner bars. But, the prices are also inflated because illegal immigrants are an easy population to rip off. Teixeira estimated an ID that would be useful to an immigrant would cost around $300. A jail source said $1,500 was more standard.

Replica UVA diploma: $184.95
With transcripts: $269.95