Teenagers across the United States are evading minimum alcohol purchase age requirements by hiding behind their masks, according to Drug Helpline. Retailers are being warned to stay vigilant and become much stricter in who they ask for ID.

Teenagers in many cases are combining masks with hats, glasses and deceptive clothing to disguise their age or appear much older than they are.

Store employees are embarrassed to ask for ID when a person’s age is difficult to pin down, providing underage drinkers with an opportunity to evade drinking laws. The right combination of attire can add more than 10 years to your perceived age when facial features are less identifiable.

man wearing masks

Drug Helpline is calling on stores to card anyone who appears to be under the age of 40 attempting to buy alcohol, and is inviting parents to call the Alcohol Abuse Hotline on (844) 289-0879.

A number of viral TikTok videos have demonstrated the effectiveness of wearing a mask to disguise age and buy alcohol. Two million watched a brunette with headscarf and glasses buy bottles of wines, while another viral hit showed a young woman with prosthetic wrinkles, gray hair and headscarf buy cider from a 7-Eleven.

teenager using mask and clothing to appear older and buy wine

Publication date: January 2, 2021

Last updated: March 9, 2023