TYLER (KYTX) -- Most of us take our driver's licenses for granted. We don't think twice about showing them to other people. But they can be more damaging in the hands of a thief than your social security number.
Jennyfer Keohane's move to East Texas was supposed to be, if nothing else, peaceful. She never expected a purse snatcher would end up being her identity thief.
"It was my driver's license, my social security card, my birth certificate from Connecticut," she said.
Two weeks later she was still struggling to replace those documents. then the calls started coming.
"And they're all yelling at me saying they want me to pay my bill."
It turned out the thief got Keohane's driver's license and her checkbook. Together that was enough to convince most clerks that whoever had them was supposed to have them.
"We oftentimes think that people need our license in order to steal our identity," Mark Seguin of TBG Fraud Solutions said. "They don't actually need the physical card. They just need the information."
Mark Seguin with TBG Fraud Solutions said with nothing more than your name and birth date a savvy thief can make a new ID that will work to convince almost anyone that they are you. That can get scary because even without a physical ID, a thief can give a police officer your name and birth date and hang a speeding ticket or something worse on you.
Then the next time you get pulled over, you go to jail.
In an always online world, protecting yourself from nightmares like that starts with making sure you're not over-sharing on social media--where a full name and birth date are common on profiles.
Seguin spent the last year developing a book about how to keep those online identity thieves out of your life.
Keohane recommends disputing the work of an identity thief as soon as possible. And getting notarized affidavits saying you didn't do what they did.
"If I had not known to go get that affidavit, I could have been in jail. I really truly could have been in jail," she said.