Stealing home: Protecting against identity theft starts with the driver’s license

It looks simple enough, but the California driver’s license is intricate and complex, a laminated sandwich of graphics and personal information and security devices, some of them invisible to the naked eye.

In an era when private information pours through the Internet, when computerized databases containing private data gets inadvertently disclosed–consider CalPERS’ data breach last month when nearly 450,000 Social Security numbers were mistakenly released — the humble driver’s license is increasingly important as an identity safeguard, says the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Because the driver license and identification card are the primary identification documents in California, they are targets for identity fraud,” the DMV says.

“Identity theft occurs when someone gains access to another person’s personal information, such as the driver’s license number, Social Security number, (or) bank or credit card account numbers, and uses them to commit fraud or theft,” the department added in an alert to the public. “An impostor can use your identity to open fraudulent credit accounts, secure loans for cars and housing, or steal money from your bank accounts.”

There are two basic ways for protecting the integrity of the driver’s license. The first is to make sure the information on the license is accurate. The second is to make sure the document itself if genuine and not a forgery.
To assure accurate information, the DMV has the following procedures, among others.

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