Recently the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security issued a warning about an identity theft scheme involving phone calls purportedly concerning the intended victim’s driver’s license. The scam begins with a phone call to the intended victim. The person calling represents that he or she works for the state Registry of Motor Vehicles and that there is a problem with the intended victim’s renewal of his or her driver’s license. In order to rectify the problem, the caller says, he or she needs to confirm some personal information including the intended victim’s Social Security number. This identity theft scheme is not limited to Tennessee, but is also being done around the country. If the person receiving the call supplies the requested information, the caller uses this information to make the person a victim of identity theft.
Neither Tennessee nor any other state places telephone calls to citizens about renewals of their driver’s license. Official communications regarding such matters are routinely sent by mail. And as I always remind you (and can’t remind you enough), you should never provide personal information to anyone who calls you on the phone because you have no idea when someone calls you whether or not they are legitimate. Even if you have caller ID, the identity thief can “spoof” or copy the telephone number of a legitimate company, state or federal agency to make it appear that they are legitimate. If you have any inclination that such a call requesting information from you may be legitimate, you should hang up the phone and call back the company or agency at a telephone number that you know is accurate to confirm whether or not the request for information was legitimate.