INDIANAPOLIS - An alert customer service representative at the Hobart license branch and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles' (BMV) new facial recognition technology combined to nab a customer committing an alleged identity theft crime. When the branch employee recognized George Henry Helms from a BMV "wanted" poster, authorities were notified and Helms was detained by Hobart police.
The Hobart Police Department confirmed that Helms already had an active warrant for check deception in Hammond. Helms has been charged with seven counts of forgery and is being held in the Lake County Jail.
BMV officials believe that Helms potentially had ten different identities and was attempting to get an 11th credential. Helms also allegedly has 15 different identities in Illinois.
BMV Commissioner Andy Miller said, "We have implemented a number of tools to protect the security and integrity of the Indiana driver's license and identification card. In this case, our facial recognition technology identified the suspect with multiple identities combined with the vigilance of our branch staff led to the capture of this identity thief.
"Our SecureID program will help add other ways to protect Indiana credentials and ultimately reduce identity theft for Hoosiers."
In July, Miller announced the BMV SecureID program which will strengthen the security of Indiana credentials. Beginning January 1, 2010, Hoosiers applying for a new SecureID driver's license or identification card will need to complete three simple steps:
- Assemble appropriate documents proving their identity,
- Present those documents at a local license branch, and
- Receive their driver's license or identification card in the mail after security checks are complete.
Miller emphasized that drivers needing to renew their licenses in later years will follow these procedures on their normal renewal dates to obtain a compliant license.
Customers who are renewing or amending their license will have the option to obtain a non-federally compliant credential in order to drive or vote. However, without a SecureID, federal officials may restrict customers from boarding aircraft or entering a federal facility in the future.
Over the past few years, the BMV has taken several steps to improve security:
- New STARS computer system provided a single BMV database and computing capacity for multiple security process improvements.
- A new digital driver's license and identification card incorporated new printing technology and imbedded security features to make counterfeiting more difficult.
- The Social Security Online Verification process allowed the BMV to instantaneously compare a customer's personal data against the Social Security Administration database. In this process over 19,000 drivers' licenses were invalidated because name, Social Security number or date of birth could not be verified.
- Facial recognition technology now permits a comparison of a customer's photo against the BMV database of photos for duplication on other credentials.
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