It seems that every week we hear of one more situations in which some politician or bureaucrat is trying to restrict access to public domain vital records. Everybody is trying to lock out everyone, including genealogists. Our right to access to public domain birth, marriage, and death information is being threatened constantly under the guise of “preventing identity theft.”
(That’s as strong a word as I will use in this family-oriented publication.)
I am sure that the politicians love the limelight back home when they can brag that they have taken action to “prevent identity theft.” Heck, nobody is in favor of identity theft, right? Therefore, just proclaiming to have taken some token action under the smoke screen of “preventing identity theft” is sure to win a few more votes in the next election.
“Facts? What facts? Don’t bother me with facts, I’ve got a re-election campaign to win.”
A recent article by Identity Guard has provided genealogists with some hard facts. The company claims to be one of the first to establish the identity theft protection industry in a colossal effort to help consumers protect their identities.
Identity Guard‘s findings are based on cold, hard facts, not the rhetoric or conjecture of someone who makes pronouncements not grounded in reality. The facts should serve as pinpricks to any inflated claims of preventing something that never existed.
Here are Identity Guard ‘s report of the Common Ways Thieves Commit Identity Theft:
Mail Theft is when a criminal rifles through your mail looking for cash, checks, pre-approved credit card offers, and personal information.
Phishing is when hackers lure you in to submitting your personal information, including credit card numbers and account log-in information. This is typically done with emails or text messages that are made to look like they’re coming from a trusted source.
Data Breaches are when businesses expose customer information, either through hacking or poor security. Many of these events result in people getting their identities stolen from the information that was exposed during the breach.
Take a close look at the above. Please note the rating for “obtained a record from birth records published by the vital records department.” Do you see it? I don’t.
You can read more on Identity Guard‘s web site at: https://www.identityguard.com/news/identity-theft-basics.
The next time someone claims that access to public records needs to be restricted in order to “reduce identity theft,” let’s ask an embarrassing question: “Show me some proof.” Then, in the awkward silence that follows, let’s ask that person to read the facts as proven by Identity Guard and other professionals that deal with identity theft causes and prevention.
Here’s a bit of advice to politicians and bureaucrats: please focus on real issues where there is a demonstrated need. Otherwise, someone may just deflate your balloon.