Many people dread going to the DMV. It’s why the state of Tennessee has a website where you can do things like renew your driver’s license online. But News4 Investigates found out a loophole in that website could be putting you at risk for identity theft.
Cindy Dawson doesn’t go to the DMV unless she has to. She’s just one of many we spoke with who say they use the state's website for things like renewing a driver’s license, ordering a duplicate or changing her address.
But could that convenience come at a price?
"160,000 was transferred into another account in my name with all of my information,” said Cindy McPeters who had her identity stolen.
She lives in in Arizona where drivers use servicearizona.com to do the same things.
Scammers there took advantage of the site to obtain copies of peoples drivers licenses and open up fake bank accounts.
And Security expert Bruce McCully says what happened in Arizona could easily happen to Tennesseans.
“Identity theft is a huge problem. On the dark web you can buy a social security number, tools for hacking…you can buy all sorts of stuff,” said McCully.
We sat down with him to ask him how secure he thinks the state website is.
Bramson asked, “On a scale of 1-10 how safe is this? I would give it a 4. It's just super convenient. The next step to make this actually safe is to get a second factor,” said McCully.
The way the website is currently, if someone has the correct information, they can pretend to be you and get themselves a copy of your driver’s license.
“I don't have to get out of my pajamas. That's kind of scary. They'll send it right to me. And then once I have your driver’s license, not only do I have a photo of you but I have your signature,” said McCully.
McCully says that signature can be used to open up a fake bank account in your name.
He also says sending a text message or email where someone has to prove its actually them would make the website safer.
“I’m just disappointed that there's no way to tell that the person logging in is really the person logging in,” said McCully.
According to a state spokesperson, steps have been taken to keep people safe while using the website. Although for security reasons the department won't comment on what specific changes it's made.
The state adds, “cyber security doesn’t just include protecting the information technology. Every citizen has a role to play when it comes to Cyber Security and protecting their identity.”
If you become a victim of identity theft, file a police report as well as a report with the Federal Trade Commission right away.
Look at your credit report monthly to see if there have been any changes and if any new accounts have been opened up in your name, close them immediately.
You can also set up alerts on your phone, so you get notified every time your credit card is used.