How would you feel if you lost your wallet?
Most people would file a fraud alert. They’d call their banks to block their credit cards. As for the cash, there’s little you can do. How about the ID documents? Yes, that includes your driver’s license.
Most of us do not think of our driver’s license as particularly valuable or something that we need to decidedly protect, but there is more than one driving license scam out there that could affect you, without you even knowing about it.
A driving license fraud takes place when someone uses the identification of another person to get an ID in that persons name and then misuse it in a number of different ways.
Thieves don’t need to physical rob you: they only need your personal data and an ID. Look at that card no differently than a master password. Anybody who gets it will have access to any account.
- What Are Driver’s License Scams
- Types Of Driver License Scams (And How To Detect Them)
- Identity Theft: How To Prevent Driver License Fraud
- Wrapping Up
What Are Driver’s License Scams
Fraud refers to any misuse of the driver’s license. Scammers will create fake ID cards to deceive businesses and access services without permission.
Driver license fraud is similar to forgery. The problem of false IDs is, that in many cases they are not checked properly. As soon as a scammer understands how the validation process works, he can adapt the documents to pass the security checks.
Without human verification, such companies would never know that a person is using fake credentials. If someone steals your information online, you’ll realize it when it’s too late. By that time, the scammer has gotten into your accounts, taken what he wanted, and went away.
The reason behind fake IDs is verification.
- Teenagers would use fake licenses to get services they don’t qualify, such as liquor stores, night clubs, or driving vehicles.
- An identity thief will try to impersonate the victim. They send you an email with a link to a phishing site and get your data without notice. “Upload your driver’s license image to verify the account.”
- You may find a (fake) government website to renew the license online. They deliver it to you with your credentials. The problem? The company has printed the ID they’ve sent you.
Driver license scams are a concerning, common problem. Some profit from it and others don’t realize they carry a fake card.
Remember, this license isn’t limited to driving. If victims don’t report quickly, they may get into any of these situations.
- Credit Fraud. The thief steals everything from your bank account.
- Penalties. A company can get into trouble if they find them doing business with minors or fake-ID clients.
- Impersonation. The thief enjoys the privileges, but you pay for the consequences. They can use the license to travel, drive (be ready for traffic penalties), even influence the application for a job.
Types Of Driver License Scams (And How To Detect Them)
There are many different types of scams for you to watch out for. The most common type of driving license scam includes presenting documents that are counterfeit to get a drivers license.
In addition, many people also present a counterfeit birth certificate or even a social security card to obtain a driver’s license, or even using the birth certificate of another individual to obtain a driver’s license.
A driver’s license is needed not only to drive a car but also as a requirement get a job in some cases. The result is that someone can be using your name and information and damaging your credibility, your driving record, and your ability to get a job, buy a car, or even pick up your children from school in the future!
You can’t explain some changes to your accounts. You receive calls that have nothing to do with your problems. Someone may have stolen your information, which is riskier than losing money.
How did that happen? The thief could have broken into your computer. Perhaps they found your card or a paper with the data. Who knows how long they’ve been impersonating you?
“If a thief knows your bank number, he can coordinate to take your money and cash a fake check of the same amount. Since it seems you lost nothing, you ignore it.”
Thieves know you will detect them as soon as they make a change. They will try to coordinate and access the accounts quickly, so you have no time to react.
How to avoid it?
- Do not keep your bills in the garbage bin. Destroy physical bills you don’t use, and do the same on email. If someone gets in, they will find nothing.
- Beware where you enter your credentials. A scammer only needs personal data to unlock your financial info. If you use it to access a website, browse it directly to avoid phishing.
- When you cash in, avoid ATM scams. A skimmer, for example, can register your credit card details when you put it in the machine.
Fake ID Companies
A driver’s license register can be a hassle. You’ll need personal documents, make the tests, and wait for who knows how long. Other companies, however, make a better promise with their ads.
“Get a driver’s license in X days, no documents required! Register on our website, and we will ship you the card.”
For a reasonable amount, you get a fake license that looks like a real one. Some will carry these IDs for years never knowing they’re fake.
In addition to you carrying that fake ID, they will also have your real ID. And there are a lot of different ways in which your personal information could be used that could hurt you, and that is why you need to protect yourself in all possible ways.
Many times the number on your license is taken and then used on an ID with the picture of another person, so that person is effectively using your identification while doing all things, good and bad, and all without your knowledge!
Fake Drivers License
You can fake an identity online quite easily. Instead of stealing information, you create an ID based on a person that doesn’t exist.
Although such low-end false identities may not work physically, they can trick online verification software. A scammer could coordinate several fake accounts for a bigger scheme.
These false IDs don’t have real personal victims except the targeted businesses. But these help scammers disguise and avoid getting caught. If anything goes wrong, they close the account and change the identity.
How to avoid it?
As a business owner, verify the identity. Ask for documents, especially those that require frequent renewal. Remember, false ID scams only work online. You can ask them to verify their driver’s license with a photo:
“Send us three files: the front and rear of your driver’s license and a photo of you holding the card.”
ID Renewal Phishing Sites
In a renewal website, you expect to get an updated driver’s license sent to your address. Instead, you will find some of these cases.
- After you order, the company sends you a (realistic) fake card. If you get nothing, it’s an advance fee scam.
- The webmaster steals your information and your accounts.
- The misleading page signs you into a monthly subscription program.
Beware where you renew your driver’s license. If the site is not official, anybody you give your data could be able to access your bank account, phone, email.
How to avoid it?
- Visit the pages directly. Many phishing sites will disguise themselves with .gov domains and landing pages. You usually access them via phishing emails.
- Test the page. Make a basic check. Do pages work? Are most links broken? When you call the number, are you talking to real people?
- Learn about phishing tactics. You don’t need to enter your data. Some attacks will get your information the moment you click their email link. Learn how to prevent phishing.
Identity Theft: How To Prevent Driver License Fraud
Tricksters no longer need just your passwords to get inside your accounts. Anytime they can change anything and verify it with your stolen license. It could be happening to you right now, so how do you stay protected?
Ask For A Credit Report
You get one free credit check every year and can take more for a tiny price. If your credit score doesn’t match with the changes you’ve made recently, investigate.
Did you take any loans recently? Open new accounts? Reach the credit card limit? You are still on time to stop it before you start receiving faulty receipts and IRS calls.
It’s much easier to detect differences when you know your accounts don’t change much — or when you check them often.
Upgrade Your Validation Software
If you own a business, your business would ideally have a group of expert employees who verify the documents. You can automate registrations up to a certain point, but additional human-verification is reliable.
Freelance and eCommerce websites do something similar. You can sign into their platforms with basic information — but only for basic services: browse content, buy products.
With a bit of money, anybody can buy fake ids from a company and fool the authorities. Why is it so hard to expose a fake driver’s license?
The problem isn’t the fake ones, but the real IDs. Fake cards exploit the blind spots real cards didn’t cover. If you want to make fake IDs evident, you have to make real documents more reliable.
Thankfully, most cards already have security measures: overlays, color patterns, faded photos, different opacity, material. Even that could be faked by experts though.
Driver licenses can take up to eight years to expire, which makes them unreliable. That’s the reason fo the US introduction of real IDs in October 2020. Driver IDs will still work but with far fewer permissions.
For a real ID, you need a passport, a utility bill, and a social security card. The question: are these cards be as easy to fake as driver’s licenses?
Don’t Ignore Your Notices
When people get confusing receipts, they ignore them. If they have nothing to do with those bills, they assume it’s a misunderstanding.
Once someone gets into your account, you need to act fast — or the bank will make you responsible for your losses. Take action once you see any unusual activity, not only when you lose money.
Check your email for account updates regularly. If an email wants you to “take action on your account,” browse the site manually and don’t click on the message links.
When you receive a new license you should be sure that your old one is either shredded or cut into small pieces so that the license or your information cannot be used again by someone else.
Another thing you can do is to purchase a copy of your driving record each year so you can make sure that no one else is using your identity when they are stopped in traffic. You can also look at your credit report and make sure that everything there is accurate, as well.
Many thieves get the information that they use on driving license scam operations from stolen mail, so make sure you pick up your mail every day and that if you are going to be away that you stop the delivery of such documents altogether for that time.
If your driver’s license has been stolen or has been compromised in any way you need to start by reporting this fact to law enforcement. You then need to contact the department of driver’s license in your area and they will issue you not only a new license, but a new driver’s license number.
This is usually the most valuable piece of information on the license as it can be used on a fake ID. The idea though is to act quickly, because the sooner you report the loss, the theft or the driving license scam, the sooner the proper authorities can be made aware of the actions.
They can help to put a stop to the scam or even stop the person who is potentially using your information in an illegal and unauthorized manner.