Are you wondering what to do with your old driver’s license?
Do you keep it safely for nostalgic reasons, or do you dispose of it?
Whether your old license is about to expire or you’re moving to another state, the best practice is to dispose of the old one.
How to Dispose of Your Old Driver’s License
The moment you receive your old driver’s license, you should destroy the old one. If you aren’t too keen on destroying it, you can dispose of it some other way.
Why is that?
Well, your driver’s license contains valuable personal information. If it falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to identity theft. Deceitful individuals can use it for all sorts of devious acts.
It’s why you must dispose of your old driver’s license responsibly. Even though the disposal procedure varies from state to state, here are some safe ways to destroy your old license:
Shred your Old License
Inarguably, the best way to destroy an old driver’s license is to run it through a heavy-duty, cross-section shredder.
If you want to be even surer, take the tiny, shredded pieces and dispose of them a few bits at a time. You can throw them in your trash over a week.
Use Scissors to Cut It
If you don’t have a high-quality shredder, you can use a pair of reliable, sharp scissors to get the job done. Even though it will take some more effort from your end, it’s also a safe way to dispose of your old license.
Make multiple cuts vertically and then horizontally to do the trick.
Alternatively, you can cut through the sensitive information on your driver’s license, such as your name, date of birth, and license number.
If you’re concerned about possible identity theft, dispose of the pieces in separate trash cans.
Take It to Your Local DMV
Another excellent option is to take your old driver’s license to your local DMV. In fact, in some states, DMVs require you to turn in your old, expired license after giving you a new one.
This way, they make sure that you don’t present multiple licenses when a cop pulls you over. It also ensures that your license doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
So, make sure to ask your local DMV if they have such a policy. If they do, take your old license to them so that they can dispose of it. Most DMVs typically punch a hole through it so that it’s unusable.
Other than that, they don’t go into the specifics of how they will destroy your license.
Moreover, some DMVs don’t take the old license. Instead, they ask you to shred it or destroy it some other way.
It’s why you must confirm with your DMV beforehand. If they don’t have the policy to dispose of it, you can always shred it at home.
Burn Your Old License
If you don’t have a shredder or don’t feel entirely safe shredding the license, you can burn it.
Use a lighter to burn or melt the license.
This way, you will be able to effectively damage the surface, making the license unusable. It will also ensure that your personal information will remain safe from duplicitous individuals and identity thieves.
Why It Is Best to Destroy Your Old License
Now, let’s discuss why you should destroy your old license. The truth is that everyday thieves or miscreants can’t use your license and exploit your driving history. They can’t even stick you with parking tickets.
The real problem is that your old driver’s license can easily provide an expert identity thief with a convenient way to attain access to more crucial, personal information.
Your driver’s license contains your name and address. These two, alone, will not give an identity thief enough ammo against you.
However, your major concern should be that many identity thieves are exceptional at what they do. They have the means to turn this basic information into a sea of details and intricacies of your life.
These thieves can use fake websites to scam you out of more personal information, such as your phone number, employment data, and marital status.
They can always head to the post office and get your mail redirected to a different address with the information they gather about you.
Lastly, they can gain access to your confidential financial information or credit card numbers.
Armed with the right information, they can get past your financial institute’s security questions. They can lock you out of your accounts while they transfer your hard-earned money out.
They can also use your identity to perform all sorts of illicit activities, leaving you to deal with the authorities.
Give the aforementioned reasons, disposing of your old driver’s license is the smart and responsible choice. Plus, you should also keep track of your financial accounts to monitor any unusual activity and transactions.
It will give you the time to stop the payments from going through. At the very least, you can actively file a complaint about them.
What Should You Do If You Lose Your Driver’s License?
If you notice that your old driver’s license has gone missing, you must search for it everywhere. If you’re unable to find it, you must contact your local police and let them know about it.
This way, if any fishy business happens or unusual transactions are made from your account, you won’t stress out.
It’s because you will have proof to verify to the authorities that you had nothing to do with the transactions.
Even though most petty thieves will not have the knowledge or means to go to such extremes, they can still spell trouble for you. It’s especially true if the address transcribed on your old license is your current address.
Criminals could stake out your house to jot down your routine. They could feel encouraged to commit a burglary.
It might seem unlikely that your old driver’s license will fall into the hands of seasoned identity thieves.
However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Responsibly disposing of the license will significantly reduce the risk of something untoward happening.
Is It Illegal to Keep Your Old Driver’s License?
No, it’s certainly not illegal to keep your old driver’s license. So, you can stop fearing that someone will arrest you if you keep it in your home or on your person.
However, make sure that you don’t hand over your old driver’s license to a police officer if you get pulled over.
Similarly, don’t use your expired license for any official documents. Otherwise, you might end up creating a lot of avoidable misunderstandings.
When Is It a Good Idea to Keep Your Old Driver’s License?
At times, you can use your old license to get a renewal. In such an instance, it’s smart to keep the old license for a record of your driving history.
In certain states, you can use your old, expired driver’s license to renew your license up to two years after the expiration date. It is a common practice in South Carolina, among other US states.
Find out if that is the case in your state. If it is, you will benefit from keeping your old license safely with you.
For instance, if you had to move to another state for some while and get a new license made, your old one will be considered void.
However, what if you had to move back to your old place within two years? Well, if that happens, you can show your license at the local DMV and make it easier for you to renew your license.
It will save you from the annoying task of retaking your driver’s test.
Keep Your License Safe
If your state has the aforementioned law, you can think of keeping your old license with you. Aside from this practical reason, if you want to keep your license as a souvenir, do so responsibly.
After all, it’s only human to want to go down memory lane and look at your old pictures and documents to see how much you’ve changed.
However, if you decide to keep your old driver’s license, make sure to do so in a secure place. If you want to keep it for sentimental value, you can simply cut out the picture.
Otherwise, if you want to keep the entire license without damaging it, you can put it in a safe in your home.
You can also put it in a locked cabinet along with other important documents in your room. Make sure that it’s always out of reach of your children and safe from the elements, and you’ll be good to go!
The Bottom Line
If your license has expired, follow the safest route and destroy it. You can dispose of your old license by shredding it, tearing it up into small pieces, and punching holes through it.
You can also cut the important details out of it or burn it. Alternatively, you can take it to the local DMV for disposal.
Even though the safest practice is to dispose of your old driver’s license, at times, you might need to keep it securely.
If that’s the case, make sure to keep it locked in a secure location in your home. This way, you can prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
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