Your license contains a photo of you, as well as your name, address, age and other personal details. Fraudsters could use this to steal your identity. Criminal identity theft occurs when someone has a brush with the law—anything from a traffic violation to a felony—and claims to be you. They eventually move on, leaving you with an unpaid parking ticket, bail or bond, or a court date that you know nothing about. Another scenerio could involve combining your insurance card with your driver’s license information. A criminal can seek medical care in your name.
What to do when you lose your driver’s license?
If you believe that you have lost your driver’s license, there are some important steps that you must take immediately.
Contact the police. Call the police’s non-emergency line. This is the first thing you want to do if you believe you have been robbed. Even if you don’t think your license was stolen, it is still a good idea to make a police report. Make sure they notate your license number in their report. You can use that later to change your license number. This will help prevent identity theft if your license is found. Tell the police that you would like to file a report. Not only is there a chance that police might find the thief, but the existence of a police report will also help you contest any fraud committed in your name.
Place a freeze on your credit reports. The information contained on your license could be used by a thief to create a financial account in your name. Seeking a freeze will prevent this from happening, and could protect you from some of the worst consequences of identity theft.
Notify your state DMV. To prevent thieves from using your license as their own, your state may flag the number so police know that it has been stolen. This will alert law enforcement to be extra careful in identifying a person they may have pulled over.
Don’t drive until you get a replacement license. You should get a new license as soon as possible, but you absolutely shouldn’t drive without one. Don’t risk additional violations during this stressful time.
Monitor credit reports. Check your credit report for any accounts that crooks may have opened in your name. Credit reports are available for free, from each of the three national credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — every 12 months from http://www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Some monitoring services and credit card companies now allow you unlimited access to credit information, so you could theoretically check every day.
Prevent potential check fraud. You also don’t want to have your license number automatically written at the top of your checks because if they were to end up in the wrong hands, it could result in years of check fraud problems. Check fraud is a felony and could lead to a warrant issued if you are not careful.
Like the Credit Reporting Agencies, the Check Verification Companies keep track of what checks have been written and attributed to your driver’s license. You can get your reports for free from all three agencies.
- ChexSystems (800) 428-9623
- Certegy (800) 437-5120
- TeleCheck (800) 366-2425