Spotting a fake driver’s license

On the road, motorists already face enough nuisances with traffic. You don’t want to add more hassle to your daily drives worrying if your driver’s license is real or not. 

Fixers and forgers lurk outside the Land Transportation Office (LTO) office and if you’re not vigilant, you or a friend might get scammed. Under Republic Act 4136, offenders will be fined up to P3,000 and six months imprisonment, along with a year’s suspension of driving privileges. 

It helps to know the ways to spot a fake license even if you are sure that yours is 100 percent real. Here are a few tips on how you can tell if your driver’s license is legit, according to MMDA traffic czar Edison Nebrija:

  • The light test. Turn on your smartphone’s flashlight and place the backlight against your driver’s license to see from the other side of the card. If the light turns yellow or white, you have a fake in your hands. An original license turns the light violet or blue. 
  • Check the thickness. All LTO driver’s licenses have the same thickness and stiffness. If you notice that yours is lighter than others people’s, consider having it replaced.
  • Prints should be clear. Check if your photo is printed properly. It shouldn’t look like a superimposed ID photo. Additionally, other prints like the flag, 2D barcode, and other info should clearly be seen even when magnified. Use your phone’s camera and zoom in to see if it’s clear. The expiry date should be embossed, too, not hand-scratched. Try rubbing a fingernail across the print to see if you can feel it.
  • Hologram test. Official driver’s licenses come with two holograms. The eagle hologram should be seen clearly under UV light. Also, you should see an intricate pattern around the LTO logo under normal light.
  • Peel test. IDs from LTO are fused together and laminated. Try to peel the corner of the card off with your finger. If it comes off, you’ve got a fake. Original IDs don’t delaminate.
  • Go online. To authenticate your license, log on to LTO’s Land Transportation Management System. There, you’ll be asked to enter your license number, expiry date, and official receipt number. If you’re able to proceed, you’ve got a legit license.

Another way to make sure your ID is legit is to only transact with LTO’s official pages online. Don’t go through other Online Driver’s License Assistance pages or fixers as they’re unauthorized and transactions done through them aren’t official.

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