Sunday, January 29, 2006

It's Easy to Be an ID Thief ... or a Genealogist

From the (Glasgow, Scotland) Sunday Herald of Jan. 29, 2006:

It’s easy to get your hands on a birth certificate ... even the First Minister’s

Holes in the system

YOU don’t have to get into bed with eastern European gangsters to start your career as an ID thief. In fact, all you have to do to get the ball rolling is pop into your local office for registering births, deaths and marriages and start culling easily available personal documents.

It took the Sunday Herald about half and hour and less than £50 to get hold of the birth certificates of two dead children ... and Jack McConnell, Scotland’s First Minister. With these documents, the Sunday Herald could have begun hijacking the identities of the dead children and started to assume the identity of the First Minister, wreaking havoc in his financial life.


[Read the whole story]
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Da*n journalists just ruined it for us genealogists...

The genealogy mantra for the last few years has been that there have been no documented cases of identity theft traced to the thieves obtaining birth certificates of dead people and using them for ID purposes.

The publicity here will cause panic in the halls of Congress and other august bodies.

I'm disgusted.


Maybe we need to impose a new litmus test on our elected officials: "Are you now, or have you ever been, a genealogist?" Only someone who's been bitten by the genealogy bug can appreciate how draconian restrictions on public-records access can be. A little more common sense and a little less (as you put it) panic is called for.

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