Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicles is launching a new campaign aimed at warning new drivers that how they celebrate a rite of passage could actually be putting them at risk of identity theft.
"Protect it," DMV Commissioner Wanda Minoli said of personal information printed on drivers' licenses. "Learn early, right?"
The problem, Minoli said, is that teen drivers are so excited to get their permit or first-ever license that their instinct is often to snap a selfie with it to mark the big day, then put the pic on social media.
That could expose personal information to identity thieves if it shows details of the license in the photo, the DMV warned.
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"You're taking that next step to adulthood," said the Vermont DMV's head of safety and enforcement, Col. Jake Elovirta. "The information you have on your license can be used for nefarious reasons by criminals for other means—fraud, and things of that nature."
Tuesday, the DMV recognized the winners of a student design contest for banners that'll go into DMV locations across Vermont. The artwork will provide a place to pose for a congratulatory photo taken by family members, rather than one of those selfies showing an ID.
"I will not be taking a selfie with my license," promised Cooper Dorsogna, a student at Woodstock Union High School who won the contest.
The design competition, which was judged by DMV staff members, came with prizes including small amounts of cash and DMV swag, the department said.
Another Woodstock student, Meghan Bailey, took second place.
"I just thought it was important to raise awareness for it and help with the issue because not a lot of people think about it," Bailey told NECN and NBC10 Boston.
Chase Rawson, a student at River Valley Technical Center in Springfield, won third prize, the DMV announced.
Minoli and Elovirta said they are unaware of any crime victims in Vermont due to photos showing personal license info.
However, they want to get ahead of that happening by also putting up reminders around Vermont's 11 DMV locations urging people to take ID theft seriously.
Minoli said the move aims to reach teens at a key moment in life.
"When you're 15 years old and you get that information, that stays with you," the DMV commissioner said of personal data found on licenses.
The DMV, which credited the state of Delaware with inspiration for the campaign, said it hopes heightened awareness puts the brakes on unsafe selfies.