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Tech IDs 4,000 Fraudsters From DMV Records

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

If standing in line at the DMV weren't bad enough, new facial recognition software is turning that trip into an arrest in New York and other states.

New York has used facial recognition technology to arrest more than 4,000 people for identity theft and fraud crimes. According to reports, that number will likely skyrocket because the DMV technology is getting better.

"The use of this facial recognition technology has allowed law enforcement to crack down on fraud, identity theft, and other offenses -- taking criminals and dangerous drivers off our streets and increasing the safety of New York's roadways," announced Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Smile and Hold

The crackdown works like this: your driver's license photo goes into a government database. If it matches another government photo, for example a duplicate license, you're busted.

But it's not just for catching people with driver issues. Among other cases, New York officials arrested:

  • A man who used a stolen ID, as well as his real identification, to collect Social Security benefits under both names. He also got a passport under the false name.
  • Another suspect with two identifications who worked and owned a home under his real name but collected unemployment under the false identity.
  • A furniture mover who stole a customer's identity and tried to obtain a New York driver's license under that person's name but was denied.

Launched in 2010, New York's facial recognition system was upgraded in January 2016 to double the recognition quality. It has vastly improved the system's ability to match photographs already in the DMV database.

Faces 39.0

According to, at least 39 states use some form of facial recognition software.

In Iowa, a fugitive who escaped from a North Carolina prison was identified when he tried to apply for a driver's license using a different name. In New Jersey, a man was caught using false identities to get commercial driver's licenses after his license had been suspended 64 times.

"You have an opportunity, using this technology, to find people who are trying to skirt the system," said Geoff Slagle, director of identity management for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). "It has really helped to identify fraudsters."

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