Security Experts:

Driver's License Thefts Spur ADOT to Boost Online Safeguards

Arizona transportation officials announced enhanced security measures Thursday for a state website that identity thieves exploited to get dozens of duplicate driver's licenses.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced new safeguards after acknowledging to Azfamily.com this week that at least 164 drivers have been the victims of theft.

The cases go back to July 2018. The agency has also been involved in four criminal investigations that have led to 10 arrests.

Thieves were able to order driver's licenses on ServiceArizona.com using little personal information and have them sent to another address. The licenses have been used to open bank accounts and credit card accounts, according to ADOT.

Now, the website will require more information including a license number to complete a transaction. Those without a number will have to go through a verification process at a Motor Vehicle Division office or over the phone.

Anyone who believes they were a victim will be able to replace their license with all new numbers.

Other steps the state is taking include the creation of an online fraud task force made up of cyber security and law enforcement experts. The group will look for recommendations to make to help prevent fraud. ADOT also plans to turn the website into a secure portal in December.

The agency has received criticism from victims for letting the website have lax security to begin with. Bob McPeters told Azfamily.com that a woman used his wife's identity to try and transfer $160,000 into a fake bank account. They were able to stop the transaction before it was carried out.

"How the hell can she get a driver's license? We figured she had a fake ID. She didn't. She had a real ID, Cindy's real driver's license," McPeters said.

A suspect was arrested by Scottsdale police in February for mail theft. She was released but arrested again this summer for identity theft.

Eric Jorgensen, the director of the Motor Vehicle Division, said the website is necessary to serve the more than 6 million drivers.

"We have to be very careful as we approach any of these problems to make sure, I want to make sure we continue to be able to offer the service that our customers expect," Jorgensen said.

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