DVLA Warns Driving Licence Holders Not To Post Its Image Online
The DVLA has warned motorists that posting an image of their licence on social media sites increases the risk of identity theft. Why? Because – according to the government agency - criminals use these pictures to market fake licences that can be used for any number of illegal purposes. Furthermore, a driving licence contains a significant amount of personal data that a fraudster might find valuable, e.g. full name, date of birth, postal address, etc. Such information could be used to open bank accounts then (say) go overdrawn without paying the money back. A criminal might also apply for loans, credit cards, catalogue credit, store cards, etc. The victim – who the lenders consider to be responsible for the debts - might then receive invoices followed by final demands and visits from a bailiff. The debt might also make it impossible to obtain a mortgage or other loan. These problems can take a considerable amount of time and money to resolve. There is also the emotional stress to consider. The DVLA has revealed that youngsters that have recently obtained a licence are the most likely to post such images online - so parents might be wise to stress the potential consequences to their offspring.
How To Prevent Identity Theft
Minimising the risk of identity theft is a simple process. Step one is not to carry unnecessary personal information in a wallet/handbag that might be stolen. As such – when practical – leave (say) a driving licence and national insurance number card at home. Furthermore, criminals rummage through bins looking for personal data. So, rather than throwing bank statements straight into the trash destroy them with a cross-cut shredder. This is far more effective than an old fashioned strip-cut shredder. Destroy anything, in fact, which contains information that is potentially valuable to a fraudster. Then consider online security. There is computer software that can be installed remotely without the victim's knowledge. This might record the user's: key strokes, passwords, credit card numbers, date of birth, address, bank numbers, etc. Once again, this data could be used for several purposes. As such, it is very important to ensure the computer has high-quality anti-virus software and a firewall. It might also be worth using a Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu 13.04 which is hard to crack.