According to recent inquiries and concerns put forth by various industry managers, along with
a couple of industry lenders, it seems that many are unaware of the penalties associated with
photocopying most government identification issued by the federal government, which is a
violation of Title 18, US Code Part I, Chapter 33, Section 701.
This federal legal Code reads, “Whoever manufactures, sells, or possesses any badge,
identification card or other insignia of the design prescribed by the head of any department or
agency of the United States for use by any officer or employee thereof, or any colorable
imitation thereof, or photographs, prints, or in any other manner makes or executes any
engraving, photograph, print, or impression in the likeness of any such badge, identification
card, or other insignia, or any colorable imitation thereof, except as authorized under
regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six
months, or both.”
Dealership staff are permitted to ask to look at a consumer’s military ID card to verify military
affiliation associated with incentive programs, etc., but they are not allowed to photocopy it.
For all needs requiring proof of identification, the dealership staff needs to ask for a state
driver’s license or other form of acceptable photo identification instead.
The governing thoughts behind such a law is because photocopied military ID cards might be
used for counterfeiting purposes, with no real safeguards against it. Because of the access the
cards grant, criminal elements and terrorist organizations place obtaining U.S. government
identifications at a premium when planning acts against the U.S. military. If a copied military or
government identification fell into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster for the Armed Forces
and the nation.
This law does NOT apply to medical establishments like hospitals and doctor’s offices who are
allowed to make a copy for filing insurance claims. It also doesn’t apply to other government
agencies that are using the copied ID to perform official government business.
Therefore, it is important for the dealership to establish and maintain a written policy, generally
within the federally mandated Dealership’s Compliance Manual, that prohibits the copying of
certain US Government issued ID cards, especially military ID cards.
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