Wisconsin DMV recognized for stopping fraud scam

Release date: November 16, 2020

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Compliance, Audit and Fraud Unit recently received recognition for its initiative to detect fraud and enhance the integrity of DMV products. The unit uncovered a fraud ring in the Madison community, which led to investigations in other states. In recognition of their work, DMV received a Fraud Prevention and Detection Award from the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

In May 2019, DMV received concerns from an unusual number of customers in a short period of time regarding customers receiving duplicate driver licenses they had not requested. DMV’s Fraud Unit worked with WisDOT’s technology bureau to pull data and look for patterns. A customer also notified the DMV Fraud Unit that someone had been stealing mail from mailboxes in the same area where duplicate cards had been ordered. Similar instances surfaced in Verona, Belleville, Oregon and Edgerton.

“Our top priority is keeping the identities of Wisconsinites safe,” WisDOT Secretary-designee Craig Thompson said. “Protecting the integrity of our state-issued identity products is a vital part of that goal. WisDOT relies on its partnership with the Departments of Justice and Administration – and on the awareness and vigilance of consumers – to help ensure that Wisconsin identifications are secure.”

When DMV determined that a possible identity theft ring was operating and using Wisconsin DMV products, DMV noted the identity theft on the victims’ records and immediately contacted law enforcement and the customers involved. DMV’s Fraud Unit concluded that criminals had obtained confidential information from other sources and used this data to order credit cards and replacement licenses.

With DMV Fraud Unit’s findings, the Department of Justice took over the case and is working across state lines to uncover identity fraud linked to Wisconsin’s cases.

“Using this case as a learning opportunity for further improvements, DMV systems have been enhanced with additional scanning and protections so that potential fraud can be identified before driver license and identification cards are mailed,” DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman said. “An important step that Wisconsin consumers can take to protect their DMV data is to enroll in eNotify. This system provides email and text reminders, and will alert customers about any activity on their DMV account. It is because of this system, and hearing from customers, that DMV was able to act so quickly in stopping the fraudulent efforts of this case.”

AAMVA’s awards program fosters a tradition of excellence in the motor vehicle and law enforcement community by honoring individuals, teams, and organizations who have committed their time and resources to safety initiatives, outstanding customer service, and public affairs and consumer educational programs throughout North America.

Wisconsin DMV safety tips:

  • Sign up for DMV’s eNotify service to receive alerts if a driver license or ID has been requested in your name. You’ll also receive renewal reminders. (wisconsindmv.gov/eNotify)
  • Pay attention to renewal cycles.
    • Driver license renewals are due on your birthday every eight years. Many people can renew online through DMV’s secure website: wisconsindmv.gov/renewDL. Licenses can be renewed anytime in the year of renewal before the expiration date.
    • Most regular license plates renew annually. DMV offers an online status checker to find out when your plate expires, if it is suspended or valid; get the Renewal Reference Number (RRN) to renew your plates online; and check to see if an emissions test is required for the vehicle.
  • Watch for your DMV product to arrive.
    • Driver licenses or ID cards should arrive within 10 business days after ordering online or at a DMV Customer Service Center.
    • Most online title and registration applications using eMV Public are completed within two weeks or less.
    • Most mailed-in applications take up to a month but may be longer if information is incomplete.
    • If the product doesn’t arrive by the expected date, check DMV’s processing time.
  • Keep your vehicle’s Certificate of Title in a safe place. The Certificate of Vehicle Registration, sent when plates are renewed, should stay in the vehicle.
  • Change your address free and conveniently on the DMV webpage.
  • Subscribe to eNotify and you will be alerted by email or text as verification when changes are made, or products ordered in your name. 
  • Look for wisconsindmv.GOV official page. If the web address ends in .org or .com, it is not the official state website and you may be paying fees for forms that are available free through the state.
  • Contact the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection for free resources on how to review your credit report, place fraud alerts or freezes on your credit reports, etc.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov