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Warning issued regarding BMV identity theft scheme

There are reports of criminals using stolen personal information to access online BMV accounts to change a person’s address and order a new license.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Department of Public Safety is warning Ohioans about an identity theft scheme involving the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Stolen personal information is being used to answer account security questions and gain access to individual BMV accounts. 

"These criminals out there are incredibly sophisticated,” said Andy Wilson, director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Wilson said this national identity theft scheme was first detected in Texas, impacting about 5,000 people. 

"We're very fortunate here in Ohio, we caught it very early,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said criminals are accessing individuals’ identities to log into OH ID accounts to change their address and then request a new driver’s license to be issued. 

"What's incredibly important is they have not stolen those identities from an Ohio system,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said they found about 90 attempts of this scheme in the Ohio system and were able to stop 30 of them. They’re now addressing the issue by looking closely for indicators of this criminal activity.

"We've been very successful in stopping this in its tracks,” Wilson said. 

The BMV is also sending out postcards to anyone who makes changes to their online profile, asking individuals to contact them if they did not make changes to their account. 

Wilson added if someone is able to use your identification, it can lead to more serious fraudulent activity. 

"If I can go get an ID that represents to be you, there's all kinds of things I can do I can go open bank accounts, I can apply for lines of credit,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said it's important to be vigilant. If you suspect this has happened to you, he said to contact the BMV and file a report with your local law enforcement. 

"If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said with these resources in place, the department believes its unlikely additional fraudulent requests will be mailed. 

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