What Should I Do if My Driver’s License Number Is Stolen?

Quick Answer

If your driver’s license number has been stolen, you should:

  • File a report with local police
  • Run a background check on yourself
  • Contact your state’s department of motor vehicles
  • Review your credit reports
  • Consider setting up a fraud alert or credit freeze
    A person holding an empty wallet in their hands stands in front of a car.

    Your stolen driver's license number can be the key that helps unlock all sorts of fraud, such as opening financial accounts in your name or creating fake IDs. Whether it's stolen in a data breach or out of your wallet, it can wreak havoc on your finances.

    Here's what to do if someone steals your driver's license number.

    What Can Someone Do With Your Driver's License Number?

    Scammers can commit a variety of criminal acts using your driver's license number. Here are five examples of some of those criminal acts.

    1. Open Financial Accounts in Your Name

    A stolen driver's license number may enable a scammer to assume your identity so they can carry out identity theft and fraud such as:

    • Opening a bank account
    • Setting up a credit credit account
    • Making unauthorized purchases
    • Applying for a loan

    2. Create Fake IDs

    In some cases, a thief will use your driver's license to create a fake driver's license or another fake ID. With this fake ID, someone can assume your identity to avoid traffic tickets or pretend to be you if they're caught committing a crime, for example.

    3. Sell Your License Number

    Some thieves might sell your driver's license number to other thieves on what's known as the dark web. The dark web is a sketchy place on the internet made up of sites that can't be accessed by regular search engines.

    4. Carry Out Mail Fraud

    Equipped with your driver's license number, a crook can change your mailing address and forward your mail to an address where they can pick up the mail. With this mail, a crook might take advantage of bank statements, credit card statements and financial documents to commit fraud.

    5. Generate a Synthetic Identity

    A thief can combine false and real personal data, such as a driver's license and a Social Security number, to generate a fake identity. This type of fraud is called synthetic identity fraud. With a synthetic identity, a thief can commit various kinds of financial fraud.

    Learn more >> How to Check for Identity Theft

    What to Do if Your License Number Is Exposed in a Data Breach

    If your driver's license number is exposed in a data breach, take these steps to protect your identity and your finances:

    • Conduct a background check on yourself. If you run a background check on yourself and spot criminal convictions, arrest warrants or other activities that don't involve you, this signals that someone else has been fraudulently using your identity.
    • Find out if your information is on the dark web. You can run a free dark web scan to see if your personal information appears there.
    • Check your credit reports. Get copies of your credit reports from all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), which you can do for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also check your Experian credit report for free anytime. Search for accounts you didn't open, credit inquiries you didn't authorize or any other items that you don't recognize. You have the right to dispute information on your credit reports if you find anything you believe to be inaccurate or a result of fraud.
    • Request your driving record. Now and at a later date, ask for a copy of your driving record from your state's motor vehicles department. If your driver's license has been stolen, a thief may have created a fake ID with that information and handed it to an officer during a traffic stop.
    • Change your passwords. Update passwords on any accounts that were affected by the data breach. Create difficult passwords or consider using a password manager to safely store your passwords.

    Learn more >> Here's What You Should Do After a Data Breach

    What to Do if Someone Has Your Driver's License

    If your driver's license has been stolen or lost, take prompt action to avoid as much damage as you can. With your driver's license or a photo of it, an identity thief gains access to your name, driver's license number, date of birth and other personal information.

    What to Do if Someone Steals Your Driver's License

    Follow these steps if someone has stolen your driver's license:

    • File a police report. The report should list your driver's license as one of the stolen items, along with anything else that was taken, such as your wallet or purse.
    • Contact your state's department of motor vehicles. The agency can provide instructions on how to replace your license and how to drive legally while you're waiting for the replacement license.
    • Set up a free fraud alert or free credit freeze. You have the right to add a fraud alert or credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, to limit access to your credit reports. In many cases, a fraud alert may be enough to protect you. It tells lenders to verify your identity before processing credit card or loan applications in your name. Meanwhile, a credit freeze limits creditors from accessing your credit report.
    • Monitor your credit. Regularly check your credit reports for signs of suspicious activity. Experian offers free credit monitoring that provides alerts whenever there's a change to your credit report, helping you spot possible identity fraud quickly.

    What to Do if You Lose Your Driver's License

    Follow these steps if you lost your driver's license:

    • File a report with your local police department.
    • Replace your license. You typically can start the process of obtaining a new license on the website of your state's department of motor vehicles or at a local DMV office. Keep in mind that you may need to pay a replacement fee.
    • Consider setting up a fraud alert. In case your driver's license winds up in the wrong hands, a fraud alert can help protect you. At this stage, you may not need to freeze your credit reports.
    • Monitor your credit. Check your credit report to see whether any suspicious activity appears, such as a new credit card account that you didn't open.

    How to Report Identity Theft

    Here's how to report identity theft that you believe happened as a result of your driver's license number being stolen or your driver's license being lost or stolen:

    1. File a report with your local law enforcement agency.
    2. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at IdentityTheft.gov or call 877-438-4338.
    3. Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Once you set up a fraud alert with one of the three credit reporting agencies, the two other agencies will be notified and add an alert. An initial fraud alert lasts one year; an extended fraud alert will remain on your credit reports for seven years and may require a copy of the police report you made to report the crime.
    4. Consider freezing your credit. You can freeze and unfreeze your credit report for free at all three credit reporting agencies. A credit freeze must be made with each credit bureau individually and will remain until you cancel or temporarily thaw it.
    5. Contact the fraud department at the credit card issuers, banks and other places where you have financial accounts.
    6. Monitor your credit reports and driving record for new signs of identity fraud. In addition, consider periodically running a background check on yourself.

    You also might want to look into identity theft protection. Although it may be too late to prevent your information from being stolen this time, identity theft monitoring can make it easier to track accounts and control access to your credit reports in the future.

    Learn more >> How to Report Identity Theft

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • You can check your credit reports, run a background check on yourself and review your driving record to help figure out whether someone is using your driver's license number.

    • You may be able to change your driver's license number if it's stolen. Personnel at your state's department of motor vehicles can determine whether it's necessary to issue a new license number.

    • Unfortunately, someone can steal your identity if they have your driver's license or driver's license number. Having this number may enable a thief to open a bank account or credit card account in your name, make unauthorized purchases or commit other kinds of fraud.

    A License to Steal

    When someone steals your driver's license number or driver's license, it may give them a license to steal your identity. If your license or license number has been lost or stolen, act quickly to prevent or minimize the damage by filing a police report, checking your credit reports for suspicious activity and taking additional steps to protect yourself.