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State Officials Warn About Risk Of Identity Theft From Buying Fake IDs

CHICAGO (CBS) -- As consumers scramble to protect their credit and debit card information in the wake of a stream of data breaches at major retailers, one group is voluntarily giving out their personal information.

WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports, in the quest to be served alcohol, college students and other underage youth have turned to searching online for fake IDs.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said, in the last two years, his office has caught more than 1,200 people.

"On top of breaking the Illinois law, and risking their driving privileges, these students are putting themselves at risk for identity theft," he said.

It's unclear how many people provide their real name and other personal information to get a fake ID that makes them appear to be at least 21 years old, but White's office said giving that information to a stranger – likely in China, where most fake IDs these days are manufactured – can put you at risk for far more than fines, community service, or even prison time.

The Secretary of State's office has been trying to raise awareness about the penalties for fake IDs through a new ad campaign.

The Secretary of State's Inspector General, James Burns, said his office is vigilant about protecting the information used for issuing driver's licenses and state identification cards.

"We believe we have a very safe and secure system through our IT department. They have all kinds of walls and security codes and so forth," Burns said.

He said the state's Safe ID Task Force looks for patterns in the system to find any potential data mining that could lead to identity theft.

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