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New Software Leads To ID Fraud Crackdown

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is now using facial recognition software to identify people who have used fake ID’s to get drivers licenses.

Attorney General Jeff Chiesa
NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa (Townsquare Media)

State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says by finding out who these people are, “Law enforcement can potentially uncover other types of crime that these individuals may be involved in, including identity theft, financial fraud, and even terrorism.”

He says 38 people have been criminally charged in the first wave of prosecutions under this initiative, and almost 700 cases have been referred to his office.

“20 to 40 potential unemployment fraud cases, 23 potential benefit fraud cases, and other cases involving possible Medicaid fraud, parole violations, fake passports and social security fraud…Lawmen will continue to work closely with the MVC, to protect New Jersey residents from criminals who attempt to use false identities and false drivers licenses to put the public at risk.”

MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez says the facial recognition software “essentially breaks down the points on an individual’s face to a grid and it’s measurements. It measures the space between the eyes, the ears, etc, etc. It’s a scientific proven technology, it’s been used on the federal level and in about 23 other states…The software is scanning all 19 million pictures in the MVC database, and it matches every single photo against every other photo to then spit out potential matches. We then do eyes-on review, by our investigators here at Motor Vehicles to say ‘hmm this kind of looks like the same person,’ but we then go deeper….It’s very, very difficult to beat this technology – it’s not completely foolproof, but it’s another tool in or arsenal.”

He adds, “Our goal at the MVC remains to make sure that an individual presenting a photo identification issued by the state of New Jersey, is in fact, who they say they are…The facial recognition software can help track down people using false identities to get licenses…For a wide variety of reasons, ranging from terrible driving records that would have precluded them from having driving licenses, criminal, sometimes violent criminal histories, avoidance of court ordered reporting requirements, court ordered support requirements or because they needed multiple identifications to engage in ongoing criminal activity…It’s very, very helpful.”

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