Drivers applying for a new license will no longer receive their plastic license immediately, but will instead be given a 30-day paper document until their new license arrives in the mail, reports the Des Moines Register. Drivers will have their old license returned to them with a hole punched through it to prohibit further use.
The new policy marks the most significant change in Iowa's driver's license procedures since they began distributing licenses with photographs in 1976, state officials told the Des Moines Register. The new procedure is expected to cut down on the number of people fraudulently applying for driver's licenses.
"The new process, which takes effect Monday, is designed to provide stronger protection against identity theft and fraud," Iowa Department of Transportation's Office of Driver Services director Kim Snook told Des Moines Register.
The production of driver's licenses will occur at one centralized location, whose employees will run the driver's digital photograph through a database against other license photographs to ensure the driver does not already have a license under a different name, reports the Des Moines Register.
A fake driver's license in the hands of a criminal could facilitate a broad range of illegal activity, ranging from identity theft and fraud to immigration and national security issues. Individuals who have obtained a driver's license under a false name would be able to cash forged checks, board an airplane, apply for employment and open bank accounts.
Iowa will become the twenty-third state to move all license production to one centralized location. The move to one undisclosed location is also expected to hinder criminals from breaking into facilities to steal equipment that is used to produce a driver's license or identification card.
Identity theft and fraud cost Americans hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and may cause severe harm to ones' credit score. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, leading states, businesses and consumers to institute better protections against identity theft.
Americans are urged to safeguard their personal information and privacy online as well as properly disposing of bank statements and pre-approved credit card offers. Credit monitoring is another important aspect of identity protection.