The National Drug Helpline warns businesses to be vigilant when selling alcohol during the pandemic: teens across the U.S. are evading minimum purchase age requirements by hiding behind their masks.
"Teenagers in many cases are combining masks with hats, glasses and deceptive clothing to disguise their age or appear much older than they are," the Drug Helpline said.
According to the Helpline, the right combo of attire can add over 10 years to a teen's perceived age when masks make facial features less identifiable.
Several TikTok videos have gone viral that show the effectiveness of wearing a mask to disguise age while attempting to buy alcohol.
"Two million watched a brunette with headscarf and glasses buy bottles of wines, while another viral hit shoed a young woman with prosthetic wrinkles, gray hair and headscarf buy cider from a 7-Eleven," the Helpline said.
Card anyone who appears to be under the age of 40, the Helpline suggests.
"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 Helpline said.
Concerned parents can call the Alcohol Abuse Hotline at 1-844-289-0879.