Birth Certificates Confidential

Birth Certificates: Should They Be Kept Confidential?

With identity theft running rampant, there is much concern about keeping personal information safe and secure. For instance, most people would never allow someone to have access to their social security card or bank account information. However, other documents could pose a problem too. What could someone do if they got ahold of your driver’s license—or what about your birth certificate? It’s important to keep birth certificates confidential and secure. These are very important identity documents, especially when used together. Learn more about your birth certificate and the concern of keeping it secure, then you can decide what security precautions you need to take for your birth certificate.

Should You Keep Birth Certificates Confidential?

Since your official birth certificate is considered an identity document that is necessary to apply for things like a driver’s license or passport, it is important that you keep it out of the hands of others who shouldn’t have access to such a critical document. If you have a copy of your certificate, keeping it in a safe deposit box or a private safe is the best way to assure its security. Then, you will not worry about who may have access to this document.

How Difficult is it to Obtain Someone Else’s Certificate?

The requirements vary from location to location, but most government issuing agencies require the customer to follow stringent guidelines to obtain official, certified copies of their birth certificate. Typically, it is only possible to obtain a certificate for yourself or for an immediate family member, such as a child, parent, and/or a spouse.

What Could Happen if Your Birth Certificate is Stolen?

Luckily, most  uses for a birth certificate involve very stringent security processes. For example, it can be difficult to obtain a driver’s license even if you already have the birth certificate as there are likely other identity checks put in place. However, a birth certificate can make it easier to steal your identity IF the thief has access to other critical pieces of information as well.

What to Do if You Feel Your Certificate May Be Stolen?

First, report the theft to the bureau of vital statistics where it was issued (in the state, city and/or county where you were born). This helps protect you since you are making it “officially known” that a theft has taken place. After this, you will want to be vigilant about monitoring your credit and bank accounts to ensure if someone opens a card in your name, you know about it. Working with the credit bureaus, you may be able to “freeze” your credit so that no accounts can be taken out in your name without your express consent (and the extra hoops that must be jumped through.)

Your birth certificate is something you will use time and again—to travel, to obtain an ID and to prove identity and/or citizenship for any number of purposes. Since it is so important, it is essential that you protect it. If you ever feel that your identity may be compromised or in danger, it is important that you be proactive and protect yourself. It may take some effort up front, but it will save you time and stress over time.

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