What can someone do with your driver’s license?

Do you suspect that your driver’s license information has been compromised? You might have lost your ID card recently, or maybe you accidentally uploaded a photo of it online.

Whatever the case, now’s the time to act. Although your driver’s license isn’t as confidential as your passport or Social Security card, identity thieves can still take advantage of the information on it.

There are thousands of driver’s license identity theft stories online. The details on your driver’s license will help crooks open new bank accounts, credit lines, and insurance policies under your name.

It’s not every day you lose your driver’s license, so we understand that you might not know the best steps to take in these instances. But not all hope is lost.

Our team made this brief guide to help you through this stressful ordeal. We scoured various government sites and online resources explaining driver’s license identity theft and gathered the most critical tips.

You’ll know how to tell if someone is misusing your driver’s license, plus what you can do to mitigate the damages.

Please stick with us until the end to understand the quickest, most effective way to spot and deter driver’s license identity theft. Otherwise, you might not even know you don’t have your ID until it’s too late.

So, what can someone do with your driver’s license? Let’s find out!

What can crooks do with the information on your driver’s license?

Before diving into the different identity theft crimes crooks can commit with your driver’s license, let’s look at the information it carries first. You’ll compromise the following Personal Identifiable Information (PII) if you lose your license:

  • Birthdate
  • Current address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Full legal name
  • Physical features
  • Signature

So, what can someone do with a picture of your license—or the physical card itself?

Knowing only one piece of information on your ID is quite pointless. But if the identity thief has your driver’s license, they could string together the different details to impersonate you for certain purposes.

Take your birthdate as an example. Although it doesn’t classify as sensitive information, crooks can misuse it on government and commercial banking paperwork if they also know your full legal name, address, and signature.

Once you lose your ID, you’re already at risk of various identity theft crimes. Crooks can take advantage of it to:

Commit driver’s license fraud

Driver’s license fraud is one of the most common identity theft crimes to watch out for if you lose your ID. It involves the submission of illegally obtained ID cards.

Crooks can use it to acquire several identity documents, purchase banking products, obtain illicit drugs, or purchase firearms, among others.

Commit crimes

Criminals can use your driver’s license to evade crimes. The gravity of the actual crime can range anywhere from traffic violations like running a stop sign to more severe cases like larceny.

Most information authorities need to detain crooks can be found in a driver’s license. In the worst case, the criminal could get away with their wrongdoings, dumping the legal consequences on you.

Produce fake IDs 

What can someone do with your ID number? Your driver’s license number can’t replace your SSN, but crooks can already take advantage of it to produce and recreate several fake IDs.

For instance, small-time crooks can sell fake IDs to minors who want to buy alcohol. Meanwhile, seasoned identity thieves can distribute your information to criminals looking to evade legal penalties.

Misuse your credit cards

Crooks can’t open new credit cards or apply for loans using just your driver’s license. Most financial institutions will ask for at least your SSN.

Unfortunately, experienced, knowledgeable identity thieves can use your driver’s license to access the PII they don’t have.

For instance, your driver’s license doesn’t have your SSN. However, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has it, and conniving crooks might find a way to extract this information.

Commit mail fraud

Crooks can use your driver’s license to defraud other innocent people. They’ll send thousands of emails inviting random people to Ponzi schemes and use your driver’s license to gain each victim’s trust.

We think crooks have a better chance of scamming people using this method. Unlike financial institutions and government agencies, mail fraud targets don’t ask for identity verification paperwork, much less Social Security Numbers. 

Abuse your health and medical insurance policy

Crooks need more than just your driver’s license to maximize your insurance policy. However, they can misuse it for less critical medical services like acquiring prescription medication or getting specific treatments.

Your insurer will help you track down the crook in these instances. However, if they worked around your policy and only used your identity, you’ll have to turn to police authorities.

How do you tell if someone is using your driver’s license?

We went through some of the worst driver’s license identity theft stories online. Based on our research, we read that people can rarely tell whether someone has already misused their driver’s license or not.

Most only find out while getting their license renewed. At this point, the crooks have already done some severe damage using their stolen PII.

Trust us—you’d want to act fast. And the only way to do so is if you stay alert and watch out for the warning signs indicating your driver’s license has been compromised.

  • Contact the DMV. Don’t hesitate to visit your local DMV investigations office if you suspect someone might have a copy of your driver’s license. The staff will at least tell you if they recently issued a duplicate license.
  • Address summons from the court. As mentioned above, crooks can use your driver’s license to get away with various offenses, from traffic violations to criminal activities. In these instances, the court will likely summon you. Please don’t ignore these notifications.
  • Check your credit rating. If crooks have misused your driver’s license information for banking products and credit lines, you’ll notice a significant decline in your credit score. Of course, the bank will also notify you of your “loans,” so stay wary.

You might receive a few calls now and then asking about certain PII. Although law enforcement authorities and financial institutions alert individuals of possible identity theft, crooks also use the same setup to acquire more information.

Remember: Someone who has your driver’s license already knows your contact number and full legal name. They’ll likely call you soon.

For instance, the crook can pose as the bank and ask for your SSN. They might scare you with made-up risks and create a fake urgency so that you’ll cooperate with them.

Pro Tip: Monitor and Freeze your credit

Thieves would be after money, so you’ll know if they’ve used your identity to open new credit accounts. Request a credit report and freeze your credit in the meantime. This provides the most effective protection to deter ID thieves from using and ruining your financial record.

What to do if you find out your driver’s license information is compromised?

We explained what someone can do with your driver’s license and how to spot warning signs of identity theft. Now it’s time to learn the best ways to combat these crooks.

The moment that you suspect or confirm that your driver’s license information has been compromised, make sure you:

  • Visit the FTC website: The Federal Trade Commission has an Identity Theft page that explains the standard procedures to follow if you accidentally expose your PII. You can also file an identity theft alert online.
  • File a police report: Turn to the local police authorities. They’ll likely ask you to file a police report so that they can do a background check of any illicit activity under your name.
  • Place a fraud alert: Inform TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian of your compromised driver’s license, then ask for a fraud alert and credit monitoring. That way, your ratings won’t automatically tank from the unusual activity.
  • Scan the dark web: You can use dark web scanners like Aura and Identity Guard to skim non-indexed sites wherein criminals might have access to your compromised PII. 

Overall, stay vigilant. Keep your driver’s license in a secure location, avoid sending photos of it to anyone, and watch out for data breach risks.

Keeping your driver’s license safe and secure

Admittedly, identity thieves can’t do much with just your driver’s license. However, they can use it as a stepping stone to committing identity theft and stealing other confidential information.

Remember: your driver’s license contains several PII. Experienced crooks can use them to access your banking accounts, abuse your insurance policy, or create multiple fake ID cards.

Endeavor to keep your driver’s license secure. Avoid random online identity checks asking for your driver’s license, don’t blindly hand over your physical ID card to strangers, and never upload photos of it on social media.

Also, watch out for any suspicious activity involving your name. Whether you lost your driver’s license or suspect someone gained access to its information, don’t hesitate to alert the necessary authorities and institutions.

Time is of the essence in driver’s license identity theft cases. Identity thieves can do significant damage in just a few hours, so file your reports as soon as possible.

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