To thwart fraud, N.J. issues new driver’s licenses

    New Jersey is now issuing new digitally enhanced driver’s licenses designed to reduce fraud and abuse.

    The state first introduced digital licenses in 2004. Motor Vehicle Commission chief administrator Ray Martinez says there are more than 30 security features embedded in the new licenses.

    “We do have micro-printing just like you would have in currency. We have purposeful mistakes that we include somewhere around the license that only law enforcement would be privy to,” Martinez said. “It’s very, very difficult to counterfeit. That’s the goal. And if you try to tamper with it, it quickly becomes evident.”

    New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow said the security features will help law enforcement stay ahead of criminals.

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    “It could be someone who’s attempted to avoid apprehension or perhaps attempting to be involved in identify theft, or perhaps is trying to get some benefits that he or she might not otherwise be entitled to receiving,” she said.

    Homeland Security director Charlie McKenna said the enhancements make it more difficult to counterfeit a license and lessen concerns over terrorism.

    “If you don’t have a driver’s license, you’re not going to be able to rent a car. Chances are you’re not going to be able to get a hotel or credit cards, and you’re certainly not going to be able to get on an aircraft,” McKenna said. “So the more we can keep these out of the hands of criminals and terrorists, the safer this country will be.”

    The Motor Vehicle Commission will take another step next year to prevent fraud. It plans to use facial recognition technology to search through photos in its database to determine if a driver has a license under another name.

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