Everything You Need to Know If Your Driver’s License Is Stolen

Losing your driver’s license can feel like a serious drag (no one likes going to the DMV, after all), but it has the potential to be a much bigger headache than many people would guess.  Every year there are millions of identity theft cases in the United States alone, and having your driver’s license land in the wrong hands could put you at risk of joining one of the millions.

Here’s what to do if your driver’s license is stolen or lost.

Here’s a quick hit list of the steps to take if your driver’s license is stolen

Table of Contents

Go to the DMV

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Go to your local DMV
  • Report your old license as stolen or lost
  • Request a new driver’s license number (and a temporary license)
  • Request a “verify ID” tag be placed on your old license
  • Request a copy of your driving record to make sure there aren’t any tickets under your name that you were not responsible for

The first thing you’ll want to do is contact the DMV and let them know your license was stolen.  You can sometimes do this online, but it’ll most likely require a trip to your local DMV.  Once you get to the DMV you’ll be able to get a temporary license while your new one gets mailed to you.  You’ll also be able to request a new license number and a “verify ID” tag on your old license, which alerts law enforcement that someone might attempt to use your old license number.

Quickly going to the DMV will also ensure no one can attempt to use your old license to commit change of address fraud and get sensitive mail sent elsewhere.  It also isn’t a bad idea to request a copy of your driving record to make sure there aren’t any negative marks placed on your record as a result of your stolen license (such as a speeding ticket given to someone using your license).

File a Police Report

If your license was stolen you’ll want to go to your local police station to file a police report.  This will ensure that if any negative marks (traffic tickets, etc.) are added to your record after your license was stolen, it will be easier to dispute and get your record cleared.

Contact Credit Bureaus 

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Contact each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion)
  • Request a flag on your credit for potential fraud
  • Request a credit freeze

One of the scariest aspects of having your ID stolen is the prospect of what criminals might do with your identity.  One of the most damaging aspects of having your identity stolen is the potential damage to your credit score.  This can often happen via synthetic identity theft.  This is when criminals use your ID and license number paired with a fake social security (and other information) to open new lines of credit, often resulting in long-term credit headaches for the victim. If your license is stolen, reach out to the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and put a flag on your credit for potential fraud.  To ensure you’re fully protected, it’s also a good idea to put a temporary freeze on your credit so no one can open unauthorized accounts in your name.


Set Up Alerts With Your Financial Institutions/Credit Card Companies 

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Contact your banks/credit card providers
  • Cancel any potentially compromised cards
  • Review transactions and account changes occurring after your license and cards were stolen

If your license was stolen along with your credit cards, you’ll obviously want to let your bank and credit card providers know.  You’ll not only want to cancel potentially compromised cards, but you’ll also want to review any transactions or account changes made after your cards and license were stolen.

Run a Background Check on Yourself 

While it’s not necessary, running a background check on yourself can be a good way to flag any signs of identity theft (here’s how to do it the right way: “How to Do a Background Check on Yourself”).  By running a background check through a service like Spokeo’s Criminal Record Check (additional fees may apply), you may be able to see if criminals have used your name and address while committing traffic violations or even crimes under your name. 

Run a Dark Web Scan 

Once your license and information have been stolen, it leaves criminals with the option to use it or even sell it on the dark web.  Using a dark web scan tool, such as Spokeo Protect, can alert you if your information has been leaked, and if any specific accounts are being targeted.  This information will give you a head start on securing your accounts.


Contact the United States Postal Service (USPS)

It’s probably not something you’d think of, but having your driver’s license stolen could put you at risk for address fraud.  Criminals can use your stolen ID to reroute mail without your knowledge, allowing them to not only get their hands on any sensitive mail documents, but also have records of new fraudulent accounts sent somewhere so you’ll never be alerted.  

If you’ve noticed a lack of mail, contact the USPS to ensure no changes have been made, and to report any potential mail fraud.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

If you’ve already noticed signs of identity theft, you’ll want to head over to https://www.identitytheft.gov/ and follow the instructions to get an identity theft affidavit.  This essentially simplifies (as much as possible) the process of alerting multiple companies to be on the lookout for fraudulent new accounts opened in the victim’s name.

Final Thoughts

Having your license stolen can be an unsettling and potentially costly occurrence.  The best thing you can do is quickly get ahead of any wannabe identity thieves, and follow the steps listed above.  The sooner you do, the sooner you can regain your peace of mind.

Cyrus Grant is a writer from Southern California with a background in law, dispute resolution, and politics. When he isn’t writing he can be found deep-diving into the latest technology trends or simply spending time at the beach.

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