300,000 People Fail License Check

Posted on September 1, 2004 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State may suspend driver's licenses for up to 300,000 people, including many illegal immigrants, because their Social Security numbers could not be verified, a top state official said.

Motor Vehicles Department Commissioner Raymond Martinez called the program a matter of homeland security and traffic safety.

The department has mailed nearly 500,000 letters to people across the state whose listed Social Security numbers could not be verified, and more letters will be mailed. Roughly half the people who received letters corrected the problem.

Martinez said he expects 275,000 to 300,000 people will fail to provide legitimate Social Security numbers, and said the DMV will move to suspend their licenses.

Since 2000, Martinez said the department has uncovered "rampant and criminal acts of fraud" and has found hundreds of thousands of people who used false Social Security numbers.

He said more than 100,000 New York residents may have had their Social Security numbers stolen by someone else. He described one case in which 57 people used a single Social Security number.

While the crackdown will guard against insurance fraud and identity thefts, protecting against terrorism was the main reason behind the program, Martinez said. All but one of the Sept. 11 hijackers had valid driver's licenses, many which were obtained fraudulently, he said.

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