ID theft: Shiny holograms and presidential portraits |

ID theft: Shiny holograms and presidential portraits

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON ” Ada Ewing thinks a workshop meant to help employers prevent identity theft would help Wal-Mart avoid hiring illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigrants turn over more often, said Ewing, a manager at Wal-Mart.

“We don’t want to hire someone for two or three months and they’re gone,” said Ewing, four-time attendee of the workshop.

Ewing saw the workshop on how to identify counterfeit documents Wednesday as an opportunity to protect their interests, she and others said.

Businesses have an ethical responsibility to help prevent identity theft, police told more than 20 businessmen and women at Finnegan’s Wake.

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A score of identity thefts in the Vail Valley prompted Avon police to hold a biannual workshop to teach employers how to spot false identification, police said.

Wal-Mart refuses to employ illegal immigrants and sends them away if they have false documentation, said Connie Custer, another Wal-Mart manager. The company wants to work more with police to arrest those committing identity theft, she said.

Employees from City Market and construction companies also attended, but most worked for Finnegan’s Wake or Agave. Jeanne Drinkuth, bartender at Finnegan’s Wake, said she was there because she was legally responsible for making sure her customers were 21 or older, she said.

Special Agent Steve Turza of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement told managers how to spot counterfeit documents such as social security and resident alien cards. Half-way through his presentation, many attendees said they could tell the difference between real and false identification documents.

Identification cards have several unique characteristics and employers could easily spot most fakes, he said. For example, a new resident alien card has several shiny holograms, including a statue of liberty and a three-dimensional map of the United States.

On the card’s back, portraits of presidents can be seen in detail only with a magnifying glass.

Avon police Detective Paul Arnold also gave tips to bartenders on how to spot a false Colorado driver’s license and how people can prevent identity theft.

Consumers should review their credit reports annually and report spurious loans to police, he said.

Almost 13 percent of Americans reported that they were victims of some type of identity theft, according to a 2003 Federal Trade Commission survey.

Police arrest a fraction of perpetrators of identity thefts, Arnold said.

To better fight identity theft, employers must learn how to verify the validity of documents people submit for employment, Arnold said.

“If you ever have a question about a document that someone hands you, call us,” Arnold said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

For more information on identity theft, visit the following Web sites:

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