The Importance of Identity Protection and the DMV’s Role


Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Identity thieves can gain access to a wide variety of personal information by hacking computers, stealing mail and wallets, and resorting to other scams to trick people. Once these thieves get hold of your personal information, accessing your banking and credit card information will be a breeze. Some thieves may go as far as applying for a driver license (DL) and identification card (ID) under your name. Be sure to follow the steps below to keep your information private and to prevent thieves from being issued a fraudulent DL or ID:

  • Store your personal information in a secure place
  • Shred mail that may contain personal information before throwing it away
  • Make sure passwords are strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed and keep them in a secure location
  • Do not carry your social security card in your wallet
  • Only carry one credit card at a time in case your wallet is stolen
  • Limit  the number of pre-approved credit offers you receive by calling 888-567-8688 toll free to opt out of prescreened credit and insurance offers

Notifying the DMV

To help keep your identity secure, the DMV is doing its part to ensure your personal information remains private. In field offices throughout California, DMV employees are continuously being trained to detect the possible use of any fraudulent documents to ensure the safe keeping of people’s identities. If you are a victim of identity theft, notify the DMV immediately by calling 1-866-658-5758, or emailing, so the DMV is aware that your DL or ID has been stolen. If your ID or DL is stolen, you must schedule an appointment at your local DMV field office to initiate the replacement process.  Be sure to schedule your appointment online for faster service. The process will be different from renewing your DL or ID and will involve additional steps to confirm your identity.

At the appointment, you may be asked to provide a statement describing the details of the identity theft. If you filed a police report, make sure to bring a copy with you.  If a report was not filed, you may be asked to explain why. You should also bring copies of canceled checks and bills, to confirm your identity, as well as letters from companies or banks indicating the fraud. Confirming your identity is necessary to prove that you have in fact been a victim of identity theft and these documents will help you do so. To prevent thieves for applying for a DL or ID under your name the DMV needs to take extensive steps to confirm your identity to ensure that a DL or ID is being issued to the correct person.

In addition, you will need to prove and validate your identity with additional, official documentation. With the exception of an expired California DL or ID card, only valid, unexpired documents are accepted. Here is a partial list of acceptable original documents that can be used to prove your identity:

  • California DL or ID card
  • U.S. Birth Certificate
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad or Report of Birth Abroad
  • Certification of Citizenship
  • Certification of Naturalization
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • U.S. Military Identification Cards
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid I-94 form

Other forms of identification may be acceptable, but is determined on a case by case basis. Contact your local DMV for other acceptable documents.

Additional Steps
Along with notifying the DMV of the fraud, you should also file a police report and contact all creditors and the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). Keep a copy of the police report and a log of all conversations related to your identity fraud case so that you have a record to refer to. The more details you have, the better; dates, names of people you talked to, telephone numbers of the agencies you called, the time you spent on each conversation, and expenses incurred, are all things that should be noted.

Follow-up on important conversations in writing and send them by certified mail and request a return receipt.

You want to document everything so that you can prove that you are a victim of fraud.

Identity theft is a scary thing and can happen to anyone at any time, so protect yourself against fraud by following these tips. For more information regarding identity theft, visit

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