|For Release: Immediate
Date: December 30, 2003
Phone: (919) 733-2522
F/Sgt. Everett Clendenin
Phone: (919) 733-5027
RALEIGH-N. C. Division of Motor Vehicle Commissioner George Tatum today announced new security measures and procedures that will assist the DMV in preventing driver license fraud. Operation Stop Fraud will strengthen the state's driver license and identification card application procedures. The program will be a partnership between the DMV and Crime Control and Public Safety (CC&PS), which will assist with investigations and arrests for fraud.
Starting February 2, the DMV will only accept proof of identity documents issued by federal or state governments, such as a valid out-of-state driver license, or an international passport validated by the federal government when individuals apply for a North Carolina driver license or identification card.
"The purpose of Operation Stop Fraud is to ensure that people are who they say they are," said Tatum, who has statutory authority to determine acceptable forms of identification. "These new procedures will make North Carolina's driver license procedures among the strongest in the nation and reflect security recommendations from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security."
"Since the terrorist attacks, the focus of driver licensing nationwide has shifted from just highway safety to public safety," said Bryan Beatty, Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety. "These new measures will improve the integrity of North Carolina's driver licensing process."
North Carolina General Statutes require that any applicant for a driver license or ID card present at least two forms of identification. Acceptable documents approved by the DMV include a valid driver license, passport with I-94 (visitor status) or I-551 (work visa) stamp, original or certified birth certificate or social security number.
In addition, N.C. General Statutes require applicants to provide proof of residency in the state. The DMV will require that proof of residency documents contain a daytime phone number that can be used for verification.
These measures, which are consistent with efforts of other states along the eastern seaboard, are part of a long-term, multi-year effort to crack down on fraud. A summary of these additional efforts follows.
Validation of Customer Documents/Verification of Information
A. Validation of Driver Licenses/ID cards from other states: Many people who request a license or ID for the first time come to North Carolina from another state and present as their primary form of identification a license or ID card from that state. The DMV will obtain Driver License/ID Card checking systems to scan and validate each driver license or ID card presented from another state. This equipment will be installed in all full-time offices and the busiest part-time offices. All customers seeking a license or ID card for the first time will be required to visit one of these offices to receive a license. This system is currently being used successfully in Florida and has been used in numerous retail applications to prevent identity fraud.
B. Validation of other forms of ID Documentation: The DMV will install a document validation system in every full-time office. This system is programmed to recognize the security features of all INS documents, all passports from countries around the world, and to examine other documents for the presence of (or alteration of) common security features, such as microprinting, moire patterns and more.
Social Security Number Verification
The DMV is also implementing special software to validate submitted documents and to verify Social Security numbers. Beginning Feb. 2, the DMV will begin verifying social security numbers with the Social Security Administration for customers as they are served. In addition, the DMV also will verify all existing social security numbers in its system.
Interface N.C. Driver License Records with National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System
The National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS) is used to broadcast to law enforcement agencies the names and identifying information on persons being sought by law enforcement agencies. The state of Florida has experienced great success with this system; during the past two years, this system has resulted in the apprehension of over 1,500 "wanted" persons. Implementation of this in North Carolina will be a joint effort by DOT Information Technology Section, the DMV, and the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Information, which hosts NLETS in North Carolina.
Revise the Proof of Insurance Form (DL-123)
When applying for driver licenses, customers are required to provide proof of liability insurance to examiners. Working with the Commissioner of Insurance, the DMV will produce the insurance form on secure paper and increase the amount of information required on the form to improve the validation process.
The DMV is in the process of implementing facial recognition technology to identify fraud. In collaboration with Crime Control and Public Safety, the DMV is seeking grant funding for a pilot project involving a facial recognition system. Facial recognition systems compare facial features to determine whether they match existing images in the database. Cases of fraud that are identified in the pilot project would then be turned over to the License & Theft Bureau and Crime Control and Public Safety for further investigation and arrests.
As part of Operation Stop Fraud, signs will be posted in the DMV offices across the state reminding applicants of the new measures. All DMV examiners - including the 45 new examiners approved by the General Assembly earlier in the year - will undergo special training to help detect fraud. If fraud is suspected, examiners will work with the appropriate authorities to investigate and prosecute.