(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – The Ohio Department of Public Safety today issued a warning about a sophisticated identity theft scheme impacting individuals across the country, including in Ohio.
The scheme, which was first identified in Texas earlier this year, involves the use of stolen personal information to answer online Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) security questions and gain access to individual BMV accounts. Once inside an individual’s account, identity thieves then request a driver’s license or identification card reprint be mailed to a new address.
“This scheme is incredibly concerning, not only because criminals are ordering up legitimate driver’s licenses but because they can use these cards and the stolen personal information to potentially access your bank account,” said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Andy Wilson. “If you receive a postcard from the Ohio BMV telling you about an address change that you did not request, it’s important that you immediately take action.”
Thousands of replacement driver’s licenses were sent to unauthorized parties using stolen personal information in Texas. In Ohio, the BMV has initiated contact with around 90 Ohioans whose stolen information was used to obtain or attempt to obtain a driver’s license reprint. It is unknown where the criminals obtained the stolen personal information. No State of Ohio systems were breached.
The Ohio BMV has reported the fraud to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and has devoted additional resources to monitor for patterns associated with this criminal activity. Due to this additional monitoring, it is unlikely that additional fraudulently requested Ohio driver’s licenses will be mailed, however, if you receive a postcard from the BMV notifying you of online profile changes that you did not request, you should immediately contact the BMV at 1-(844)-644-6268. It is also recommended that you file a report with your local law enforcement agency, change answers to your online security questions, and place an initial fraud alert on your credit file.
More information on steps to take if your identity is stolen can be accessed via the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. An example of a BMV address change postcard can be found below. Postcards are mailed to customers’ old addresses any time an address change is made.