Driver’s License Fraud Remains Rife, GAO Reports

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It’s still easy in manyh places to obtain a driver’s license with phony documentation, Congress’ General Accounting Office says. The GAO told Congress yesterday that undercover agents using phony birth certificates, utility bills, baptismal certificates, and fake IDs from other states to get driver’s licenses in all seven states since July 2002, USA Today reports.

Changes in the last two years have made fraud more difficult, but gaps remain. “If the GAO can do this, then terrorists can do it,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The states where agents got driver’s licenses with phony documents were Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Arizona, California, Michigan and New York, plus the District of Columbia. Agents obtained a license every time they tried but sometimes had to adjust their methods after being rebuffed initially by clerks.

Every state has toughened driver’s license procedures since 2001, USA Today says. Many added safeguards like watermarks, fingerprints and digital photographs. Alaska, New Jersey and Oklahoma – the last states to use paste-on Polaroid photos on licenses – start replacing them in January with plastic credit-card-style licenses that have bar codes to deter fraud.


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