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New app could curb underage drinking by spotting fake IDs

The barZapp app lets users scan licenses from every U.S. state as well as the Canadian provinces with an iPhone.

This 35-year-old male appears to have a legitimate ID, but his visitor history is rather suspect. Intellicheck Mobilisa

Kids these days. It just keeps getting harder for them to misbehave without being spotted.

A new iPhone app released in July aims to help stop underage drinking by making it easier for bartenders and bouncers to spot fake IDs. Users with the barZapp app simply point their iPhone cameras at the bar code on an ID to find out where it's legit. The app also offer up a lot of additional info, including the owner's date of birth, height, weight, and eye and hair color as well as the card's expiration date. They can even see the visitor's history at that exact location.

Available on iTunes for $1.99 (which allows for 10 scans a day) or $19.95 a month (which gets you unlimited scanning), barZapp has been downloaded roughly 1,000 times.

Intellicheck Mobilisa, the company behind the app, also provides software for many of the ID scanners stores currently use, scanners that CEO Nelson Ludlow recently told U.S. News & World Report are far more expensive given they require that stores purchase and maintain stationary hardware. Ludlow adds that his company boasts the largest state ID repository in the U.S., and that if you see a license scanner in a store in this country, "It's extremely likely that [it has our] software inside."

Even though barZapp isn't the first on the scene, Ludlow claims that barZapp is superior to its competition because of its ability to scan licenses from every U.S. state as well as the Canadian provinces. In fact, the company was sued in 2009 for attempting to monopolize the driver's license validation market.

Because the app can spot fakes regardless of what the license holder is attempting to get or do, tobacco store owners may find barZapp useful as well. "This low-cost solution can not only help to deter underage drinking, but also help protect alcoholic beverage and tobacco product providers from costly fines and potential loss of license from serving underage patrons," Ludlow said in a press release.

The app, which the company says will be available for Android soon, looks for several types of fake IDs, from those whose non-encrypted info has been tampered with to altered bar codes to expired hand-me-downs. "If someone fiddles with a date or something in the bar code ... you better do it exactly the right way" or get caught, Ludlow adds.