Losing your driver’s license can provide an open path to your bank card, email and other online accounts and put you at risk of identity theft. But don’t panic. In this post, we’ll explain everything about the driver’s license fraud and tell you what to do if someone stole your driver’s license.
What can scammers do with your driver’s license?
Driver license contains a wealth of valuable personally identifiable information (PII), including your name, birthdate, home address, photo and identifying characteristics like height, weight, and eye color.
If thieves get hold of these information, they’re able to steal your identity and commit a variety of criminal activities including but not limited to:
- Sell your personal data on the Dark Web
- Create a fake ID to leave traffic violations on your record
- Apply for credit cards or loans in your name
- Cash your checks
- Claim your tax refund and unemployment benefits
- Use your medical insurance coverage
- Open utilities in your name
How to know if someone is using your driver’s license
You’ll find out immediately when your driver’s license is pick pocketed. However, criminals today can steal your driver’s license even without physical access to it and such frauds can go undiscovered for months. To check if your data is exposed, here’s how.
1. Set up a data breach alert
In fact, there are more individuals and organizations keeping copies of your driver’s license than expected. This includes DMV, your employer, insurance companies, bank, doctor’s office, department stores, or government agencies like the IRS. If any of them failed to secure their databases, digitally or physically, your information may be leaked, and eventually end up on the Dark Web, a place for illicit sales of goods and information.
You can’t prevent data breaches though. It’s wise to check if your information is on the Dark Web and more importantly, set up instant security alerts once you’re involved in a data breach or Dark Web exposure.
2. Review your credit report regularly
The credit report is a detailed breakdown of an individual’s credit history. It shows a list of credit accounts opened in your name, your payment history, credit limits and other important financial information. If you see a sudden drop in your credit score or suspicious records on the report, someone may gain access to your driver’s license and steal your identity.
Make sure to review your credit report at least once a year. You could request a free credit copy every 12 months from national credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) on annualcreditreport.com.
3. Conduct a background check on yourself
Identity thieves may steal your driver’s license to avoid traffic warrants and even commit crimes, leaving misdemeanor, felony charges, or fines in your name. Unrecognized criminal convictions or arrest warrants on your records are warning signs of identity theft. To check this, you should perform a self background check.
Enter your name to get a comprehensive background report
Instead of visiting different courthouses to request the relevant records, you could obtain an online background report instantly. TruthFinder is a reputable & reliable background check website that allows you to check court records, felony convictions, traffic violations and bankruptcies easily.
Go to the TruthFinder search page, and start a search with your name or phone number, or email.
Wait a couple of minutes until the report is generated, and it should reveal a myriad of public records on yourself. You could check the driving records and make sure there are no tickets, traffic stops or outstanding violations that don’t apply to you. TruthFinder will also send you notifications when the records are updated.
What to do if someone stole your driver’s license
So if your investigation turns up the driver’s license has been compromised and used fraudulently, take proactive steps to mitigate the damages. There are a few things you should do ASAP.
1. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
The first place you should go to when someone stole your driver’s license is the local Department of Motor Vehicles. They will shut down the old license so that no one can use it for fraudulent activities.
Next, request a replacement for your driver’s license. Before the official replacement is ready, which takes around 2-4 weeks, you may get a temporary license.
2. File a police report
If your purse, wallet or backpack was stolen or lost, the best bet is to file a police report first. You should list everything that you miss, including the driver’s license, social security card, etc. Some states require you to file a police report if your driver’s license is lost or stolen.
3. Report to FTC
If you suspect a scammer has stolen your identity, also report it to IdentityTheft.gov. They can help prove to other businesses that your identity was stolen and offer customized step-by-step recovery instructions for different types of fraud.
4. Place a credit freeze or fraud alert
An effective way to prevent others from abusing your personal information is placing a credit freeze. It will restrict any hard inquiries on your credit profile, so the fraudsters can’t open bank accounts or apply for additional loans in your name. Contact each of the credit report agencies to freeze your credit: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Alternatively, you could set up a one-year fraud alert. This asks the lenders and creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before extending the credit. You just need to submit the request to one of the credit bureaus and it will notify the other two. For victims of confirmed identity thefts, the fraud alert will prolong to seven years.
5. Get comprehensive identity theft protection
As the number of identity thefts increases, it’s wise to invest in a professional identity protection service to better secure your digital privacy and safety. Particularly if you don’t have much time to monitor your personal data, this kind of service is highly helpful and convenient.
Among a range of similar digital solution providers, Aura is our top pick. It integates a suite of safeguarding tools, including identity, Dark Web, & credit monitoring, real-time fraud alerts, antivirus, VPN, and password manager. And if you, unfortunately, lost your driver’s license and suffer eligible losses due to identity theft, Aura provides up to $1M insurance coverage.
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It usually takes some time before you notice the identity was stolen. But when it occurs, it’s almost too late. That’s why early detection is necessary. Try reviewing your credit score, the status of critical financial accounts on a regular basis, and dispute any errors. If you find doing this overwhelming, it’s worth paying for an identity theft protection service.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below.