DMV gives teen driver's license with wrong info, photo

DMV gives teen driver's license with wrong info, photo »Play Video
LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A Kern River Valley teenager who applied for a replacement driver's license ended up getting one with all wrong information. The boy's mother said she's worried both her son and the other man could end up victims of identity theft because of the mistake. She also couldn't get any response from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

"This license is not my son's picture, it's not my son's signature, they've changed the name around," Janet Taillon told Eyewitness News. "And, the birth date is wrong."

The photo on the license is a man they don't know. It lists his age as 23. Her son is 17.

The driver's name on the license is similar to her son's name, but not the same. And Taillon said the license that arrived in the mail didn't have her son's correct license number. However, it was mailed to her family's home in Bodfish.

Taillon can't understand how the mistake was made in the first place and why it wasn't quickly corrected. Her son had gone to the DMV office in Lake Isabella to get a replacement driver's license after losing his wallet.

"Before he left the DMV, he noticed on the temporary that it wasn't his birth date," Taillon said, adding her son immediately asked about the problem. "The man told him he couldn't fix it right then."

They were told it would be made right but were shocked when the replacement card turned up with all the wrong information. Taillon called a phone number provided to report any errors on a driver's license but didn't get much help.

"All this man said was, 'You have a problem.' He then instructed me to call the driver's license issuing unit," the mother said. She got to talk to a supervisor at that office, who promised to call back in 24 hours. But, Taillon said she never heard back.

That's when she went into high gear, calling the FBI and an office at the Federal Trade Commission. Taillon was worried her son's info had been mailed to someone and he might end up a victim of identity theft.

One expert recommended filing a police report, so, on Friday, Taillon made a trip to the Kern County Sheriff's substation in Lake Isabella, where an officer took her information and took possession of the driver's license with the incorrect information.

Eyewitness News contacted a DMV spokeswoman in Sacramento to get answers for Taillon. The department looked into the situation on Friday and responded Monday with a statement.

"Unfortunately, a processing error occurred at the DMV field office," the DMV said in the statement, which also included an apology for the error and an offer to replace the license and the teen's photo at no charge.

"We are also contacting the customer involved in the mix-up and have offered to change his driver license number," the statement continues. "This type of error is very rare."

Addressing possible problems for the other driver is important too, said Taillon.

"This could have done a lot of harm to him, too," she said.

The DMV statement didn't say exactly what the "processing error" was at the field office. So, Eyewitness News asked the DMV if there would be any changes to prevent a mix-up like this in the future. Spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said the department is "further identifying procedures to tighten up and prevent processing errors" like this.

Monday afternoon, Taillon's son was set to go back to the Lake Isabella DMV to get a new license and photo. The mother said she's now satisfied with the response.