FORT MYERS, Fla. Fake identification cards are illegal in Florida, but that has not stopped criminals from using them to take identity theft to the next level.
“It unlocks whoever’s identity they’re using,” explained Sgt. Brian Sawyer with the Collier Sheriff’s Office’s Financial Crimes Bureau. “It facilitates that identity theft even more. It can be used to get acceptance for a check, get acceptance for using a credit card or getting credit on scene from a business.”
Lt. Gregory Bueno with the Florida Highway Patrol says the state is trying to make it harder for criminals to pass their fake ID’s off as real.
Since 2010, Florida has complied with the national “Real ID Act” to make improve integrity and security of its state identification cards.
“You start talking about identity theft, it starts exposing you to some sort of financial harm and those types of things. If someone is trying to assume someone else’s identity, you know we’re going to assume that it’s not for good purposes,” Bueno said.
A number of official documents are needed in order to receive or renew a Florida license. Once completed, a star is placed on the right hand corner indicating the user’s identity has been vetted.
But despite the protections, not all criminals can be stopped.
“That’s one of the scary things,” Sawyer said. “We’ve seen them morph into very well produced ID’s and driver’s licenses. The information is accurate, the font, the holograms, they’re very good.”