*This post was updated by the Identity Theft Resource Center as of February 19, 2021
At the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), our trained staff handles nearly 1,000 new victim cases each month. One of the common questions our expert advisors are asked is what can happen if a driver’s license falls into the hands of a would-be identity thief.
How could someone take information from my driver’s license?
- Someone steals the physical license or a picture of the license. With a driver’s license or a photo of one, an identity thief has direct access to your full name, driver’s license number, birth date and other personal information.
- The license number is exposed in a data breach or compromise. Since 2017, the driver’s license information of more than 150 million U.S. drivers has been compromised in a data breach or failure to secure a database. For more information on these data events, visit the ITRC’s data breach tracking tool notifiedTM. You can review information on the latest publicly reported data compromises that impact consumers and businesses.
How could someone use my license for identity theft?
In some cases, it’s used for fake I.D. production. In other cases, it’s used as proof of identification, often with other pieces of personally identifiable information (PII) to open new accounts, evade traffic violations or even evade criminal proceedings.
Read more: Clearing Criminal Identity Theft
How can I minimize my risks?
The best action is to safeguard your driver’s license information. Don’t allow anyone to scan or swipe your license unless they are required to do so by law (buying medicine, airport security check, etc.) or a transaction that requires your age or identity to be verified, such as at a bar or when applying for a job or bank account.
If a license or state I.D. is lost or stolen, make sure to report it to the state licensing agency and ask what steps to take to protect your license from being misused. The ITRC’s advisors can help you learn the steps to take in each state.
How can I tell if someone is using my driver’s license?
Most victims don’t find out their information has been used until they apply for a new license or for a renewal, get a background check or are told by law enforcement.
If you suspect your license information has been misused, take the following actions:
1. Request your official driving record
Ask the state’s licensing agency for a copy of your driving record, then review it for suspicious activity. Most states charge a small fee to provide the report.
2. Request your credit reports
Contact the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) to obtain a copy of your credit report to ensure no unknown accounts are opened in your name.
3. Review recent background checks or request a new one
You are entitled under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to a copy of any background check conducted by a third-party company when you apply for a job. Just ask the Human Resources representative for the contact information of the background screening company.
If you have not had a recent background check, consider contacting a reputable background check company to conduct a self-check to look for errors such as wrong employers, false criminal charges, debt collections, etc.
What do I do if I’m a Victim?
There are many actions available to you if your identity is stolen using your driver’s license. You can contact the ITRC toll-free at 888.400.5530 or live-chat with an expert advisor on the company website. We will create a customized identity theft remediation plan with specific action steps you can take that are tailored to your unique situation.