The line at the DMV might be dragging a little longer these days, but the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles says it's worth the wait.
Since Nebraska launched its new driver's licensing system, 41 investigations into identity theft or fraud have been launched.
According to DMV director Beverly Neth, the facial recognition system implemented when the system changed has been reviewing every picture in the DMV system every night, comparing former ID photos with ones taken since the system changed.
Staff members are also checking new pictures against old ones when new photos are being taken.
She said the searching has caught some incongruities.
Most frequently among the 41 catches, she said, are younger siblings or friends taking identity documents to the DMV in an attempt to assume an older identity that would theoretically let them buy alcohol. Neth said the youngest person to try this so far is 16.
"The technology we've installed is a powerful tool that can help combat fraud and identity theft in Nebraska," Neth said in a statement.
For instance, the nightly system searching found one person who, Neth said, was using three different Social Security numbers, one belonging to a dead person. Another resulted in the DMV fraud unit contacting the person whose identity had been stolen, only to learn the identity thief had "racked up a $100,000 bill for unpaid taxes with the IRS," Neth said.
The new standards by which proof of residence is proven have resulted in the fraud unit uncovering "five to 10 bogus addresses each week," Neth said. Criminal histories are being run on the bogus address providers, and that's resulted in the discovery of several outstanding arrest warrants and possible parole violations, Neth said.
"I know Nebraskans are spending more time at the DMV to get their new license than they are used to," Neth said. "We are working to reduce the wait to the greatest extent possible, and the trade-off is that the DMV can now do more to help stop fraud and reduce the chance of Nebraskans becoming victims of identity theft."
A list of accepted proof of residence documents and other materials needed to get a new driver's license can be found at http://www.dmv.ne.gov/.