Police: DMV Computers Stolen To Make Fake Licenses
Posted September 28, 2006
LOUISBURG, N.C. — Thieves have taken computers containing the sensitive personal information of thousands of North Carolina motorists, according to the state Division of Motor Vehicles.
The DMV has mailed notifications to 16,000 drivers that someone took computers from the agency's Louisburg office earlier this month. The computers contained personal information -- including Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver's license numbers -- for some motorists who received new licenses between March 2005 and Sept. 10.
"Right now, we are thinking four computers were taken," Louisburg Police Chief Rick Lassiter said. "We believe someone obtained this equipment to duplicate fictitious North Carolina driver's licenses."
Most vulnerable motorists are residents of Franklin County, where Louisburg is located, DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell said.
The information on the stolen computers had been saved to the DMV database in Raleigh, which is how the agency knew who to notify that their personal information had been stolen.
The agency took almost three weeks to send out the notifications after learning of the burglary Sept. 10. The notice includes the phone numbers of the DMV and credit reporting agencies in case a fraud alert becomes necessary.
"If it were to happen and I get a letter, I would monitor my credit and hope for the best," said Wynett Clark, of Louisburg.
Howell said the personal information is not easily accessible, and there is no evidence that it has been used for identity theft. Motorists will receive notification letters, which ask potential victims to report any suspicious activity, this week.
The notification letters comply with a new state law that takes effect Sunday. Government agencies must tell people if there's a security breach that could lead to identity theft. Businesses have had to notify people since last year.
This is the second time in recent months that the DMV has had trouble with stolen information.
In May, a contract worker was accused of downloading the addresses of almost 4 million people. He was caught when he tried to access Social Security numbers.