The state Department of Motor Vehicles has identified 13,000 possible cases of identity fraud since facial recognition technology went into service in 2010.
Those investigations led to 2,500 arrests statewide – 126 in Suffolk County alone – Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week.
“Facial recognition technology has been an extremely valuable tool for our investigators in combating identity theft,” DMV Director of Field Investigations Owen McShane said. “This initiative has not only helped to make the state’s highways safer but also identified many individuals who attempted to commit fraud at taxpayer expense.”
The technology has mostly been used at DMVs, including the Riverhead location, to help identify individuals who attempt to obtain more than one driver license or non-driver identification document. In Suffolk, 726 cases were opened.
Facial recognition technology also flagged more than 100 people with felony warrants statewide, including a fugitive for 17 years after robbing a bank in Nassau County in 1993.
The University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research assisted the DMV in evaluating the driving records for people identified as having two or more licenses and found:
- 50 percent identified through facial recognition had one valid NYS license while having a second record that was suspended or revoked.
- 20 percent were suspended or revoked under every known record.
- 30 percent had multiple valid licenses.
The evaluation also included a comparison of the driving histories of the individuals identified via facial recognition against the rest of the state’s driver license population and found:
- 63 percent had been involved in a crash, compared to 42 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- 9 percent had been convicted of impaired driving, compared to 2 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- 29 percent had been convicted of a cell phone violation, compared to 9 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- 46 percent had been convicted of unlicensed operation, compared to 7 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- 56 percent had been convicted of a seat belt violation, compared to 21 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
- 35 percent had accumulated six or more points on their license records within an 18-month period at some point in time after Nov. 18, 2004, compared to 11 percent of all licensed drivers in the state.
“DMV’s effective use of facial recognition technology shows how our state government is progressing with a 21st century world to work for New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “Through this program, we are successfully taking dangerous drivers off our roads, helping to track down criminals, and protecting taxpayer dollars – sending a clear message that New York State does not tolerate identity fraud and those who try will be caught.”