The ability to provide proof of your identity using documents such as driving licences, passports and identity cards (like the EU/EEA National Identity Card) is vital. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to buy fake ID documents and, despite what those who sell them may want you to believe, using completely fake identity documents or using documents which are genuine, but have been altered in some way (e.g. changing the photo) inevitably means that you commit criminal offences.


Owning and using fake ID means that you will be committing serious criminal offences including:

You don’t actually have to even use fake ID either, because under section 5 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act merely possessing some types of fake ID will also mean a criminal conviction. There are very few defences you can successfully put forward. For many of these offences you could be fined and/or spend up to 10 years in prison.


Being convicted of a criminal offence will have a massive impact on your life. Despite recent reforms to shorten the impact of some more minor criminal convictions, some convictions are never regarded as “spent” (for example convictions of over 4 years in prison), so will remain on your record forever.
There are also exceptions when you must disclose all convictions. Let’s start with work – if you want to work with vulnerable people or children (such as in a nursery, school, care home or hospital) you will need to disclose conviction and have a Disclosure and Barring Service certificate. Your conviction will always show up on that certificate so your prospective employer will have to turn you away. It affects lots of other jobs too. Besides, how many employers do you think would want to employ a person convicted of a dishonesty offence?

What about a criminal conviction impacting on other aspects of your life?

If you are thinking about

  • applying for a mortgage – your conviction virtually guarantees you’ll be turned away from the major banks and financial institutions
  • studying –some courses will effectively be closed to you
  • house insurance – probably not available to you even if it’s a “specialist” insurer” charging premium (high) prices
  • fostering or adoption
  • travelling – forget schemes which make obtaining visas easy such as the US Visa Waiver Program. Most countries won’t even want you to visit for a short holiday if you have a criminal conviction

Finally, don’t forget that buying fake ID will most likely help organised crime gangs commit further crimes so you may well also have the National Crime Agency paying a visit to you too.