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Scam Alert

International driver's license a bum ride
An international driver's license can never be suspended, replaces your previous suspended or revoked license, hides your identity and can be used as a valid photo ID.

That's a lie.

It's a lie so popular the Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers to watch out for e-mails and Web sites making those claims.

According to the FTC, offers for fake "international driver's licenses" are showing up on Web sites and in spam e-mail. Scammers are selling them for $65 to $350.

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These licenses are attractive to people who have lost the legal ability to drive or who are trying to hide their true identity -- either to run from debt or other problems.

The ads claim that these licenses can be used as valid identification and will replace your driver's license that was suspended or revoked.

Not only are these international driver's licenses fake, using one could land you in jail for withholding identity, driving without a license or driving with a suspended or revoked license.

And depending on what information you give to the scammers (like your credit card number, bank account number, Social Security number or current driver's license number), you could end up with your identity stolen.

If you are going to be driving in another country, you might want to look into getting an international driving permit (not license -- as scammers sometime mistakenly call them), also called an IDP.

These are documents that translate your state-issued driver's license into 10 languages. Residents of the United States with a valid state-issued driver's license are legally allowed to drive in some foreign countries. The IDP makes it easier for law enforcement in other countries to understand the information on your state-issued driver's license. The IDP costs $10. Only two companies in the United States are allowed by law to sell IDPs -- the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Read about more scams.

-- Posted: Nov. 18, 2003



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