5 Ways Fraudsters Can Exploit a Stolen Birth Certificate

 

For many citizens, a birth certificate is considered one of the most important documents we have in our possession, yet many of us may stuff it in a drawer and forget about it until we are required to use it. That's when you go into panic mode, rummaging through every corner of the house, hoping it wasn't misplaced.  The security of a birth certificate shouldn't be taken so lightly. A stolen birth certificate can be used to commit a wide variety of crimes, including identity theft, impersonation, and other financial crimes, with just the small amount of information that is on it. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the five of the most alarming crimes committed with a stolen birth certificate, and how you can protect yourself from birth certificate fraud. 

Before diving in, let's examine what information is on a birth certificate and what its used for. A birth certificate contains your full name, your parent's names, your date of birth, and your place of birth. That may seem like not a lot of information, but a birth certificate is considered a "breeder document," which is what makes it so precious. A breeder document is a type of vital record that can be used to access other vital records and identity documents, including marriage certificates, passports, driver's licenses, social security cards, etc. 

So, birth certificates are essentially a gateway into the world of our private information, but the question remains: how far will a fraudster go with it after its been obtained? The answer is--as far as they can. A stolen or illegally obtained birth certificate creates a domino effect of crime that can cause an innocent person's life to spiral, even if they caught on.  

 

5 Crimes Someone Can Commit With A Stolen Birth Certificate


  • Identity Theft: The most obvious crime is identity theft. Identity theft is a pervasive crime that can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life, and its quite prevalent around the world. In 2023 FTC received 5.7 million total fraud and identity theft reports, 1.4 million of which were identity theft cases. That equates to identity theft taking place every 22 seconds in the United States.  And unfortunately, birth certificates can play a significant role in facilitating it. Because a stolen birth certificate can be used to access other types of personal documents, fraudsters will start by applying for a driver's license, and then a passport, and so on, allowing criminals to do almost limitless financial damage to the victim, which can take 5-7 years to resolve. and will most likely obtain them. Why? Birth certificates also do not contain ID photos, giving an added advantage to fraudsters who obtain them, leaving government officials who issue these types of ID's none-the-wiser. 
  • Open fraudulent accounts: One of the most alarming crimes that can be committed with a stolen birth certificate is the opening of fraudulent accounts. With access to your birth certificate, criminals can use your bank account information to easily apply for credit cards and loans in your name, leaving you to deal with the financial consequences. Imagine waking up one day to find out that you have several credit cards and loans under your name that you never applied for. Your credit score is tanking, and debt collectors are calling nonstop. This nightmare scenario is unfortunately a reality for many victims of birth certificate fraud. While you may be diligently monitoring your credit card statements and bank accounts, someone else could be racking up debt in your name using your stolen birth certificate.
  • Account takeover: By using your identity as verification, fraudsters and imposters can gain access to your online social, email, and other online financial accounts.  From there, they can gain even more of your private data, even continuing to scam your friends or family.

  • Apply for government benefits: Using stolen birth certificates to fraudulently apply for government benefits is a troubling and growing concern. By posing as the legitimate holder of the birth certificate, fraudsters can gain access to a wide array of government assistance programs, from welfare to healthcare, and even unemployment benefits Fraud like this not only strains government resources but also exploits the vulnerability of individuals who may unwittingly fall victim to identity theft. 

  • Commit child identity theft: This one will have you crawling out of your skin. Because children are too young to have financial histories, they are often the target of identity theft. Fraudsters can use your stolen identity to obtain your children's birth certificates. Most families wouldn't think to monitor documents or finances for a child, so many of these fraud cases go unnoticed until they are old enough to apply for credit cards, only to find that their credit is already tanked without any explanation. This is why parents must protect the legal documents of their children at all times. 

 

How Government Agencies Can Prevent Identity Theft with TROY

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While everyday citizens can be aware of these risks and dangers, there's only so much we can do to protect ourselves. Especially with digitization and sharing of documents through email, keeping personal records and documents safe from bad actors can be quite difficult. There are ways for government agencies that handle documents like birth certificates and driver's licenses to scale up their security. 

Through TROY Group's products, government agencies are able to utilize a complete document security solution for not just birth certificates, but other vital records, as well as driver's licenses, tax documents, academic records, and more. With a suite of security solutions geared toward government agencies, TROY can help fight the growing epidemic of identity theft. TROY Group offers:

 

  • Security software with SecureDocs Sentry: SecureDocs Sentry is a revolutionary document security solution that allows government agencies in charge of printing vital records such as birth, marriage, and death certificates to easily enhance security with customizable templates that layer documents with features such as UV watermarks, serialization, barcode scanning, and much more. When augmented with these overt and covert features and smart serialization, printed information becomes tamper-resistant and difficult to replicate even by the most sophisticated criminals. SecureDocs Sentry works for printed documents, as well as digital.  

  • TROY Security Inks and Toner: Patented security inks and toners add a hidden layer of security to your high-value documents. Make authentication easy and counterfeiting difficult by adding overt and covert layers of security that fluoresce blue with the correct UV verification light.

  • TROY UV Printers: TROY UV enhanced HP printers can print the dynamic UV watermarks created in your SecureDocs Sentry template to paper.

  • Fraud Defense Printers and Toner: Fraud defense printers come with key locks that disables print functionality when locked, and locking trays that protect valuable stock Along with TROY's patented fraud defense toner releases a red dye if chemical alteration is attempted, votal records are always protected.   
     

What to do if your birth certificate is stolen

 

To protect yourself from these alarming crimes, it is crucial to take immediate action if your birth certificate is stolen. Report the theft to the authorities, who can investigate and take necessary steps to prevent further harm. Stay vigilant, monitor your credit reports, and financial accounts regularly to detect any suspicious activity. And always be cautious when providing personal information to others. 

While personal vigilance is crucial, the battle against stolen birth certificates and fraud extends beyond our individual efforts. Government agencies can play a pivotal role in preventing identity theft by employing advanced security measures such as TROY Group's fraud defense toner, secure printing solutions, and innovative software like SecureDocs Sentry. Through these technologies, they can fortify the security of vital records, mitigating the risk posed by identity thieves.

For more information on TROY's security solutions, visit our website and explore the options now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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