New Driver's License Design Will Help Prevent Identity Theft, Fraud

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COLUMBIA - To help prevent identity theft and fraud and increase security, the Missouri Department of Revenue created a new driver's license design set to debut late this year.

The new licenses contain several different elements, including a major change in switching from an "under 21" license to a "21 and up" license. Previously, the picture on the license would switch from the left side to the right once a person turned 21. With the new design, the license will be horizontal if a person is 21 and vertical if the person is under 21. In addition, there will be a "ghost image" of the person's picture in the bottom right corner of both licenses, laser perforations saying "MO", and different colored headers depending on the type of license.

The process for getting your license will remain mostly the same. However one key element will change. You will receive a temporary paper license and can keep your old license which will be punched "VOID". Your license will then be mailed to you within 7 to 10 business days.

It is for good reason Missouri is changing its license design. In 2012, Missouri was embroiled in a federal investigation when 14 people were accused of running a fraud scheme that supplied more than 3,500 Missouri driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

While very few of the new IDs are in circulation, police chief Anthony Consiglio of the Ashland police department said so far, he thinks the design will be beneficial.

"Any additional features that can be added to help decrease fraud and identity theft is a great thing, and I'm glad that it's being done and we'll see what happens," Consiglio said.

Bars also think the new designs will make it easier to catch those with fake ID's. Manager Allison Sorg of Tropical Liqueurs South, which is known for its "wall of fakes," says they'll be helpful.

"I think they'll help us. I've heard and been told that the new Missouri IDs, they're supposed to be harder to fake, so that'll help us," Sorg said.

Sorg's only concern is the transitional period between licenses.

"It's just something else we have to learn," Sorg said. "Sometimes it can be hard. Like when Texas changed their ID we didn't really know too much about it but now that we've seen a couple of those and more of the states are going to this format of ID it's easier to tell."

Starting in December, license offices across the state will convert to the new licenses, around 15 offices each week. The rollout should be complete in April 2013.