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.
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.
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 DMV.org suggests:
- Act fast to try to find the license
- Assess what’s missing to be sure it is only the license (and not credit cards, etc.)
- Know what’s at risk (identity theft)
- Report the loss to police
- Report the loss to your ID theft protection service
- Notify the state DMV
- Replace your lost driver’s license
- Drive nowhere without your driver’s license (it’s illegal)
- 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.