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Florida driver’s license revamp is strong on consumer protection

Advanced security features newly added to Florida driver’s licenses mean changes are coming for 15-million Florida drivers.

The announcement came this week from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) that those seeking new or renewed driver’s licenses would immediately start seeing new features added. The most significant change is the removal of the magnetic strip to create room for additional security features that include a tactile element allowing people to tell if a license is authentic just by touching it.

“The release of this new credential is part of a continued effort to maintain the highest level of security for all Floridians,” said agency Executive Director, Terry Rhodes, in a statement.

The announcement comes amid recent reports that Florida is still the top state in the nation for fraud. In previous years the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported Florida as a target for scammers due to the high number of older people, viewed as a vulnerable population.

However, in the FTC’s most recent Consumer Sentinel Network Databook, Florida ranks No. 4 for identity theft and No. 1 for fraud with millennials as a new target.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis said last week in Jacksonville: “These statistics are alarming and that is why I’m thankful for the support of Sheriff [Mike] Williams and Mayor [Lenny] Curry to spearhead my Fraud Free Florida initiative here in Jacksonville.”

The Fraud Free Florida initiative is designed by Patronis to be a “one-stop-shop for reporting fraud and learning about ways to protect yourself from scams,” according to a written statement. The tactile security feature on Florida driver’s licenses is the newest in statewide efforts, led by officials, to better protect Floridians from fraud, identity theft and other scams.

If this sounds all too familiar that’s because, in 2017, Florida began issuing redesigned driver’s licenses and ID cards, including the magnetic strip for enhanced security.

Florida’s newest change is evidence the state remains committed to ensuring Floridians have the most secure driver’s licenses and ID cards available on the market, today.

What does FDHSMV want Floridians to know about the new driver’s license and ID card rollout? The department advised, “Previously issued driver’s license and ID cards will still be used until they are replaced or phased out. Any credentials with a magnetic strip and no tactile feature with an issue date after Aug. 31, 2019, are fraudulent.”

In a statement, Rhodes added, “In cooperation with law enforcement and our stakeholders, we are committed to enhancing security, preventing fraud and best serving our customers.”

It remains to be seen what effect, if any, these changes will have on Florida fraud statistics. What is certain is officials are making changes, statewide, with hopes to decrease the amount of fraud and identity theft faced by Floridians, today.

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