Your birth certificate is your most important document. It’s how you prove your citizenship, how you verify you really are who you say you are, and even what you need to replace nearly all of your other documents.
Unfortunately, because it doesn’t feature a picture, stolen birth certificates are also one of the most common targets for would-be identity thieves. Birth certificate replacement is the most obvious response when your birth certificate has ended up in someone else’s hands, but there are other actions you should take, too. We’ll outline them below.
File a Police Report
It may seem silly to file a police report for your lost birth certificate, but, even if you’re sure you simply misplaced it, it could still be misused when an individual finds it. Filing a police report ensures that there is an official record of the loss. If someone does steal your identity, later on down the road, you can use the report as proof that you attempted to prevent it from happening. This can be helpful in instances where your birth certificate is misused to open accounts or take out other forms of identification.
Report the Stolen Birth Certificate to IdentityTheft.Gov
The U.S. Government, in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has a service allowing citizens to report a stolen ID. The website is called IdentityTheft.Gov, and it is an entirely free service that may help you respond to an instance of identity theft and prevent further harm. Report the loss via the website, following the prompts. If you aren’t sure which responses best fit your situation, you can chat with a government representative using the “Chat with Our Support Team” button at the top of the page.
Contact Your State Vital Records Office
Next, you should contact your state Vital Records office to let them know that your birth certificate was stolen. Make this call even if you aren’t entirely sure whether you misplaced your certificate or it was taken for malicious reasons. This office can enter a note on your file that may help prevent someone from printing off additional copies or requesting any other identification with your birth certificate.
Note that you need to contact the Vital Records office for the state you were born in, not necessarily the state you are living in now. If you’ve moved, you’ll need to reach out to the original office to confirm their stolen certificate process. This is also true if you were born outside the United States in Canada, Mexico, or another location.
Protect Your Identity
Because your birth certificate can be used to access other forms of identification, such as a photo ID, you should assume that your identity is in danger if or when you realize it was stolen. Take action immediately to secure your identity and prevent an issue from happening, even before you replace a birth certificate.
First, consider using an identity monitoring and protection service. These services constantly scour available databases and information collection points, such as credit bureaus and vital statistics offices, to determine if, when, and how requests for ID or new accounts are made. These services will work with you to confirm whether or not you made the request and, if you didn’t, will guide you on how to respond.
You should also inform all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) that your identity may have been compromised. They can place a fraud flag on your account for a specific period of time (usually 5 to 10 years) that requires creditors to reach out to you at a certain location or number before opening any new accounts.
Reach Out to FastBirthCertificates.com
Having your birth certificate stolen can be scary, stressful, and challenging. Being proactive and taking the right steps early on will help you to stay safe in the long term. For more information on how to get a new birth certificate, reach out to the team at FastBirthCertificates.com via our online contact form.