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I (physically) lost my license

I travel frequently; about 80% of the time I find myself on the road to visit a client or speak at an event. Last Friday I made my way to the airport, stepped up to the TSA security desk and discovered my license was missing. I had another government issued photo ID with me so I was not too concerned, but the calm began to erode over the weekend.

aeneuman-worry While playing golf with some friends I shared the story of the lost license. Knowing I am a privacy professional, the first question asked was “Are you concerned about identity theft?” “What, me worry!” I responded quoting Alfred E. Neuman, but the thought started to work on me.

My initial steps to prevent identity theft

After getting a replacement license from the my state, I called the city police department where I lost the license. “We cannot take a report over the phone. Will you be coming back soon?” I explained that I will be there in the near future, but am concerned about potential identity theft between now and then. “Let me talk to my sergeant and I will be back to you.”

Why I should worry while I wait to here back from the police

In the Identity Theft Resource Center article titled “What Can a Thief Do with Your Driver’s License?” they point out that aside from a teenager using the license to buy alcohol, the most likely use is for the license to be used by someone to avoid reporting their true identity during a traffic stop. The author goes on to explain that this may mean that I could end up with outstanding traffic infractions that I really had nothing to do with.

enhanced-drivers-licence-New-York I suggest that the information on a license is also a good place to start for identity theft. Name, address, date of birth, and some physical attributes (not to mention a picture) all are present on the physical license; good fodder for internet searches to say the least.

So what should I do?

The article “9 Urgent Must-Dos If You Lose Your Driver’s License” from suggests:

  1. Act fast to try to find the license
  2. Assess what’s missing to be sure it is only the license (and not credit cards, etc.)
  3. Know what’s at risk (identity theft)
  4. Report the loss to police
  5. Report the loss to your ID theft protection service
  6. Notify the state DMV
  7. Replace your lost driver’s license
  8. Drive nowhere without your driver’s license (it’s illegal)
  9. Watch for the signs of identity theft



After reviewing the list, the erosion of calm is reversing. Aside from waiting for the police to call me back, I am now into step 9, something I do anyway.