I’ve Lost My ID, Is My Identity Going To be stolen?

Can someone steal your identity with your id? 

Your ID is the most important identification paperwork you have. It includes your birthdate, home address, height, weight, and eye color. When your ID is misplaced, a thief can use your information to steal your identity. With your ID, someone can apply for credit cards, loans, and unemployment benefits. They could open a phone, electricity, or gas account, steal your tax refund, get medical care, and even use your name if they are arrested or otherwise in trouble with the law. 

Your ID could be stolen physically or with a photo of your ID. Your identity could also be stolen through data breaches. A thief does not need to have access to your social security number in order to steal your identity. Thieves only need the information off of your ID. 

What to do if you have lost your ID? 

If you lose your ID, try your hardest to retract your steps. Think about everywhere you went in reverse chronology. It might help to write down everywhere you went and revisit each spot. Get friends to help you find it if you lost it outside, and call any restaurants or other places of business you may have visited. If you have looked everywhere and are absolutely sure your ID is gone, it’s time to take action in getting a new ID. 

To receive a new ID you need to contact your DMV. You will have an option to replace your license online or in person. The online system is accessible any time of the day and you do not need an appointment to apply. If you would like to go in person you must make an appointment as soon as possible to get a replacement quickly. 

Depending on the state you live in you will need to file a police report detailing how your ID got lost or stolen. Even if your state does not require a police report, it is still a good idea to report your license lost in order to have proof of your lost ID. 

After your police report is filed you can go to your DMV’s website and begin filling out a replacement request form. The form will be a few pages long and you will need to know information about yourself that correlates to the records the DMV has on file for you. 

Once your paperwork is submitted you will need to pay a replacement fee. The fee is typically no more than $30 depending on your state. Print a copy of your confirmation page and keep it with your records. You will also be able to print a temporary license to carry with you while you wait for your official license to arrive. It usually takes 2-4 weeks to receive your license in the mail. You can also opt to receive your license at your DMV. 

What can a scammer do with a picture of my ID and how to stop them?

While a scammer cannot steal your identity with just your name and address, they can use them to gather more information about you, which could lead to a stolen identity. With your name and address, a scammer could look you up on databases to receive access to your phone number, marriage and education records, and employment history. The more detailed information they have, the greater the chance they can open credit cards or bank accounts in your name. 

The best way to stop scammers from taking your information is to sign up for an identity theft protection company such as Life Lock by Norton (www.lifelock.com). Lifelock does all the work for you. They monitor your account activity and notify you immediately if they detect any suspicious activity. They will alert you by text, email, phone, or mobile app of any threats to your identity. If you do happen to be a victim of identity theft and you have a subscription with Life Lock their team will help solve the problem. 

Is it safe to send a picture of your ID? 

You need to be very picky when deciding if you should send a picture of your ID online. Email scams or fishy websites can sometimes be deceiving, so as a general rule do not send your ID online. There are, however, a few instances in which sending a picture of your ID is necessary. Those include:  

  1. Applying for federal loans on secure government websites 
  2. Verifying your identity to sign up to work services, such as Wag or Rover dog walking apps, Uber, or Postmates 
  3. When withdrawing money at a bank
  4. At hospitals to verify your insurance coverage 
  5. New places of employment so your employer can conduct a background check before offering you a job 

The most important thing to keep in mind is why that person or organization needs to verify your identity. If the reason is clear and you trust the website/ organization, then it is safe to send your ID. If you are not comfortable sharing your ID, stick with your gut reaction. 

How do you check to see if someone stole your identity?

If your license is stolen or lost it can be easy to realize your identity may be stolen. However, it gets more tricky if your information was exposed in a data breach. Luckily there are warning signs to look out for concerning identity theft. 

1 – Check your credit report

The first thing you should do is order a copy of your credit report. You can receive a free downloadable copy of your credit report through Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion every year. Your credit report will show all credit cards, loan accounts, and any bankruptcy or foreclosures in your history. If you see any open credit cards that are not yours you will know someone has stolen your identity. 

2 – Your insurance company may contact you 

Your insurance company should always be on the lookout for data breaches or other strange behavior on your accounts. In addition, your department of motor vehicles may know if your license has been exposed in a breach. 

3 – Receipt of strange notices 

If someone is using your identity to apply for unemployment, you may get a notice from the unemployment department detailing unemployment benefits. Similarly, your municipal court may contact you with court dates or traffic violations you may have not committed. If this is the case, you know someone is using your name to stand trial for misdemeanors. 

4 – Check your official driving record 

Ask your state’s licensing agency for a copy of your driving record. Review your record for any tickets or other suspicious activity. You can receive your driving record for a small fee in most states. 

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