You may be trying to acquire a Real ID as part of the new requirement to board domestic flights. Like many people, you may also be confused with how it works. Unfortunately, scam artists take advantage of such confusion to gather victims and gain money from you. To help guard yourself against these fraudsters, we will talk about the new Real ID laws and what a real ID does, the different types of Real ID scams resurfacing after the pandemic, and how you can avoid such scams. Keep reading to save yourself from unnecessary stress while complying with the Real ID requirements!
New Real ID Laws and What a Real ID Does
Protecting yourself from Real ID scams starts with knowing what a Real ID does and the law behind it. Passed in 2005, the Real ID Act requires similar security standards for issuing driver’s licenses and state IDs. Following the 9/11 attacks, stricter guidelines or requirements were established before people were allowed to air travel and to enter federal facilities to prevent terrorist attacks.
Under the Act, you would have to submit more documents to agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), showing your full name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and proof of residence. These include your U.S passport card, U.S. permanent resident card, border crossing card, foreign government-issued passport, and more.
The first deadline was scheduled in 2008 but has been postponed several times. While the recent deadline was on October 1, 2020, it has been moved to May 3, 2023, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Types of Real ID Scams Resurfacing After Pandemic Guidelines Lift
While some people are still trying to understand the Real ID process, different types of Real ID scams are resurfacing after the pandemic.
Fake Text Messages and Emails
Real ID scams usually come from random text messages or emails urging you to update your licenses immediately. They will also ask you to provide your updated phone number and mailing address for Real ID compliance. Then, scammers will tell you that non-compliance would mean breaking the law. Instead of mentioning flights, scammers will only say “travel” to suggest that you need the new Real ID for all types of travel — including traveling by train or going to the grocery store.
In other instances, the text messages will ask you to validate your details for what the scammers call “driver license waiver.” They use the name of the Department of Motor Vehicles and include a link for the validation. According to the DMV, such waivers do not exist, and they wouldn’t gather sensitive information through text or email.
While restrictions have been lifted, you may still choose to get your Real ID card online even after the pandemic. However, beware of scammers who set up fake sites, copying those of state agencies like the DMV. Also, note that you can’t get your Real ID card online; you can only send specific documents.
Other scammers will ask you to pay certain fees for appointments, even if you can do it on your own. Once scammers get a copy of your documents, they can easily steal your identity. So, check for suspicious links before clicking on them because they might just redirect you to a fake website.
Some scam artists will pretend to be law enforcement or transportation officials. Then, they will convince you to get a new Real ID, or else you will be fined. If you receive calls or emails from people claiming to be state officials, immediately hang up or delete the messages.
How To Avoid Real ID Scams
- Don’t give out your personal information, especially your Social Security Number. While scammers use the names of legitimate state agencies, remember that the latter won’t solicit such crucial information via text or email.
- Keep your computer and mobile devices protected. Install antivirus software, and keep the updates automatic.
- Do not share any private information online or on your social media accounts. Otherwise, it will be easier for scammers to perform identity theft and even ask your family or friends for money.
- Ignore random text messages or emails that include suspicious links.
- Make sure your passwords are hard to guess and different for every account. Also, avoid sharing them with anyone.
- Pay attention to typographical or grammatical errors. Also, if there are words, like waiver or travel, they must be a scam.
- Immediately submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you meet someone trying to steal your identity.
Real ID Scams: Catch Them With Social Catfish
As we have illustrated above, scammers will go to great lengths — even using the Real ID law — to trick you into getting what they want. Learn to spot Real ID scams by following the steps above. To discover fraudsters’ real identities, do a quick reverse search at Social Catfish.