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Avoiding International Driving Permit Scams: Navigating the Maze

Scams for International Driving Permits (IDPs) are all over the internet. It's crucial to know that, for US drivers, only IDPs issued by AAA (the American Automobile Association) are recognized and authorized by the US government. Companies like Fast IDP can expedite the process for obtaining IDPs from AAA, but no other organization can legally issue an IDP in the US.

Why is AAA the only organization permitted to issue IDPs in the US? It all goes back to a United Nations treaty from 1949 that first established the use of International Driving Permits. According to that agreement, each country is empowered to authorize one or more entities to issue IDPs within its borders. Currently, AAA is the sole organization authorized by the US government to issue legitimate International Driving Permits. Nevertheless, numerous websites continue to exploit uninformed Americans by offering illegal IDPs online. Obtaining a document from these illicit sources poses risks similar to possessing a fake ID, including the potential inability to rent a vehicle, legal complications, fines, or worse.

While the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has pursued some of companies offering illegal IDPs in the past (ses here), their efforts struggle to keep pace with the influx of new scam sites popping up on the internet. Be vigilant to make sure you don't fall victim to the misinformation from these companies.

Spotting a scam site is straightforward if you know what to look for. Most scam sites show signs of foreign or AI-generated language patterns, sounding unnatural to a native English speakers or being highly repetitive. Additionally, most scam sites also don't have an email address or a US phone number, signaling an intention to remain elusive.  The most important rule, though, is to only trust websites aligned with the guidelines set by the US government and AAA. 

Again, the only way to get a legitimate IDP in the United States is to get one through AAA, either directly or through an expediter like Fast IDP. If you're looking to get an IDP, see this blog post from Fast IDP about How to Get an IDP in the US

Safe travels and stay away from those scams!



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