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An investigative snapshot by a consumer magazine has uncovered dubious and fraudulent advertisements offering UK driving licenses for as much as £600 – without the need to take a driving test. A series of suspicious claimed to offer a “registered driving licence” without a test in “just a few working days”. Another company was found to be offering a replacement driving licence service for people who had racked up points for speeding or similar, promising to clean up your driving history. With so many fakes around, how do you spot them if you are identity checking a new employee or tenant who has produced a driving licence as evidence of who they are?

DVLA and Driving Licences

The only way to get a legal driving licence in the UK is to sit and pass a theory test, and then book and pass a practical test. The DVLA has confirmed that these ads for driving licences on social media are not connected to the DVLA and are recognised scams attempting to obtain payment or personal information. The DVLA argued that the sites will never deliver a fake driving licence and are purely there to get money from people desperate to pass their test. People learning to drive must apply for a provisional licence before starting driving lessons or taking theory and practical tests.

Spotting a Fake Driving Licence

There is lots of information online about how to spot a fake driving licence. This is mainly aimed at the hospitality sector, as driving licences are commonly used as fake ID by teenagers trying to get into pubs or clubs before they are legally old enough. Some fakes are very obvious to anyone who has seen a genuine licence, but others are trickier to spot. If you are checking the identity of someone who has given you a driving licence as part of the proof of who they are, here’s some key things to look for.

  • Raised type – the surname and driving licence number on a genuine licence are printed in raised font which feel bumpy as you run your finger over them. This feature is often missing in a fake licence.
  • Hologram – on the front, a genuine licence has a hologram of a steering wheel, on the reverse, the person’s face. Both of these holograms should “move” when you move the licence.
  • UV light – a genuine driving licence should have features which shine under UV light. This feature shouldn’t be relied on by itself though, as some fakes are printed on this type of paper too.

Foreign Driving Licences

It can be more difficult to spot a fake driving licence issued by a foreign country, just because we are not as familiar with the genuine documents. Some of the basic checks such as putting the licence under UV light and checking that holograms move should be completed, and there is lots of information online about security features in documents issued in other countries. Always get professional advice if you are still not sure about a document you have been given.