Identity Theft

Counterfeit Driver’s Licenses: A rising identity theft

Counterfeiters have become increasingly sophisticated and are able to replicate many of the driver’s licenses that are not using state-of-the-art security features

Counterfeit driver’s licenses are used to facilitate underaged drinking, identity theft, terrorism, check & bank fraud, and returned goods fraud. These acts cost each American adult about $1,000 a year, according to a new white paper released by the Document Security Alliance (DSA).

According to DSA’s government, industry, and academic document security experts, the counterfeiting of state-issued driver’s licenses presents an imminent threat to national security, causes colossal financial losses for state and federal governments, and enables substantial increases in identity theft and fraud losses to businesses, banks, and private citizens.

Tony Poole, President of DSA, said, “Counterfeiting thrives at multiple levels and the use of counterfeit driver’s licenses is a major contributor to the staggering costs borne by our society. Federal, state, and municipal governments collectively lose billions of dollars every year to fraud, a considerable portion of which is enabled by counterfeit driver’s licenses.”

Driver’s license agencies have severe budgetary constraints. These limits result in critical delays to upgrade the driver’s license designs – which should occur every four or five years to stay ahead of counterfeiters and reduce the circulation validity of each design. Lack of funds restricts the ability to incorporate the latest overt, covert, and forensic security features due to marginal cost considerations. The consequence is that high-quality counterfeit state driver’s licenses can be readily purchased from internet sites fronting for criminal organizations.

“By investing more in the security of their driver’s license, states would be rewarded with lower fraud losses and fewer identity-related crimes. Our kids, families, friends – all would be safer,” said Neil Ivey, Vice President of DSA. “State legislatures should allocate appropriate funding to arm states with the necessary resources to increase their card security requirements and provide their citizens with driver’s licenses that have vastly improved security and resistance to counterfeiting.”­

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