Iowa Drivers License Photos Used To Catch Identity Thieves - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa Drivers License Photos Used To Catch Identity Thieves

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Waterloo police arrest an escaped North Carolina prisoner, 40 years after his escape.

It occurred after the man applied for an Iowa drivers license.

Ronald Carnes is in the Black Hawk County jail.

He faces charges of possession of a fictitious license, fraudulent practices, and possession of a weapon by a felon.

He was caught after he applied for a drivers license using a name different than one used to apply for a vehicle title.

The common link, his photo.

The Iowa DOT's system maps a person's facial features and turns it into information the program can compare with other pictures in the system.

If there's a match, Iowa DOT investigators can see if it's the same person, or if it's something of a more sinister nature.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in Iowa, one particular photo is used to eliminate one of them. Fraud.

"There are lots of bad people out there running around and I'll do what I can to help, to accommodate," says Sona Guy.

She spent part of her Thursday afternoon getting a new drivers license. Hers was lost and expiring soon. She followed the path many of us do. Sitting, waiting for the number to be called, eventually taking the dreaded photo. She's fine with Iowa using it to combat fraud.

"It's to catch the criminals, and I'm a good citizen," says Guy.

The Iowa DOT investigative division says between 125 and 135 identity thieves get caught each year using this facial recognition software. Once a face pulls up multiple identities, red flags get raised. As long as the crime isn't too old, the DOT can go after the criminals. It has been working for the past seven years.

"It's a good thing they're doing that because if this software can actually help catch some criminals than I guess it's a good thing to do," says Sree Ramya Lamka.

She hadn't heard of the program either, although she say's she's fine with it. The clerk told her she can have a little smile.

"She just told me that teeth is not going to be visible, but you can just give me a little kind of smile," says Lamka.

A Mona Lisa smile as a way to stick criminals with mug shots.

The DOT's system uses Iowa data only.

However, once investigators become aware of any criminal activity, they have a range of additional tools at their disposal to link criminals to their crimes.

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