Don't fall for the International Driver's License scam

Thousands of fake International Driver Permits (IDPs) are sold each year to unsuspecting victims.

Scam artists prey upon people with poor driving records, falsely claiming that their document will authorize buyers to drive legally in the U.S, even if their state-issued license has been suspended or revoked.

These scammers also claim that their document can be used to avoid points or fines affecting state-issued licenses and can be used as legal photo identification.

All of these claims are false.

If you are a U.S. resident, an IDP is not valid within the United States. They are not intended to replace state-issued driver's licenses and should only be used as a supplement to a valid license when traveling to a foreign country. IDPs are not legal proof of identity, either.

Some issuers of fake IDPs use a foreign country as the "residence" country for the buyer (or driver) in an attempt to avoid the restriction that IDPs cannot be used in your home country.

This misrepresentation can lead to serious legal difficulties if you are stopped by the police in the U.S. and show a false IDP from some other country. The IDP will show that you live in that other country, however your car registration will show you as a U.S. resident.

Lying to the police about your place of residence is a crime and could result in legal action.

The IDP is a legitimate document when issued by the proper authorities but it is not an alternative to a state-issued license. An IDP is simply a translation of a regular license into another language.

When you purchase an IDP you do not get a new, separate driving record. Your record stays with you, so an IDP cannot be used to hide violations or tickets. These infractions are still recorded on your regular driver's license.

A real IDP must be purchased in your home country and you must be over 18 years of age and hold a valid license issued by a U.S. state or territory in order to purchase an IDP. In the United States, only two organizations are allowed to sell IDPs: the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, which offers IDPs through its National Automobile Club.

The bottom line: The old adage of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" is appropriate once again.

Contact attorney Joseph Cross direct at (877) OWI-LAWS to have the best chance of getting your driver's license back. You can also complete our Free Online Case Review and Mr. Cross will contact you.