Identity theft is an ongoing and widespread problem across the country, and thieves are constantly finding new ways to commit this crime.
One increasingly popular type of scam is obtaining identification from state governments using another person’s sensitive data, but New York is now cracking down on this crime, according to a report from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In the last three years, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles has discovered more than 13,000 possible cases of identity fraud using new facial recognition software, leading to more than 2,500 arrests and another 5,000 people facing other action from the state.
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“DMV’s effective use of facial recognition technology shows how our state government is progressing with a 21st century world to work for New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Through this program, we are successfully taking dangerous drivers off our roads, helping to track down criminals, and protecting taxpayer dollars — sending a clear message that New York State does not tolerate identity fraud and those who try will be caught.”
Among those who were discovered using another person’s identity with their state-issued licenses, 63 percent were involved in at least one car accident, compared with just 42 percent of all drivers in the state, the report said. Another 9 percent were convicted of impaired driving, as opposed to the just 2 percent of everyone else. Further, 35 percent had racked up six points or more on their driving records within the 18-month period after November 18, 2004. In all, just 11 percent of drivers statewide saw similar increases.
The amount of information needed to acquire a license in the state may show that those who have been victimized by this type of identity theft are particularly vulnerable for other such scams, because their personal data including Social Security number might be exposed, the report said.
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To determine whether they have fallen victim to identity theft, all consumers should check all of their financial documents — such as credit card bills, bank statements and credit reports— to make sure there are no unrecognized transactions or accounts made in their name.