PennDOT dosn’t understand risk

How trying to protect individuals from one form of identity theft may create another.

Late last week I filled out a form on the PennDOT website notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles that I moved.  A few days later I received a letter at my new address containing my updated registration and license.

A few days later I received another letter from PennDOT with the little yellow forwarding service label sent to my former address.

Let me reiterate, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation sent a letter to my former address with all of the information on my license, including the license number and personal traits. What if I didn’t have a chance to provide forwarding information to the post office, or worse, if the post office decided to ignore (or delay) my forwarding information. I would never have received this letter and it would be sitting in the mailbox of some stranger.

I understand the purpose of this letter is to notify people who might not have moved and had their license address changed by some random person as a result of identity theft. However, in order to change your address with PennDOT you have to provide your old license, and both the title and registration from your vehicle. (Which seems odd, since you might have a license, but not own a vehicle, but whatever.)

I guess PennDOT determined that the risk of disclosing personal information to strangers was a lower risk than distributing licenses to people who were able to obtain not only someones original drivers license, but the title and registration from their car.

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