Identity Theft

A number of our cousins are worried about someone stealing their identity, and with good reason. Some have recently been the object of such theives. I found a government site on Identity Theft. The following is from that site.

How do thieves steal an identity?

Identity theft starts with the misuse of your personally identifying information such as your name and Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other financial account information. For identity thieves, this information is as good as gold. Skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to get hold of your information,

You will note that the genealogical information posted on this site is not mentioned. Birth date and place do not provide theives with information on bank accounts, nor do they provide enough information for someone to open a false account in your name.

Here is another reference from a genealogical source:

No proof of harm

After extensive research, we find no evidence that public vital records significantly contribute to identity theft or terrorism; we find only unsupported opinions. We also find no data that supports an increase in birth certificate fraud or that certificates were obtained from public record offices. For example, in Ohio, an open record state, Richard Rawlins, deputy director of Ohio Homeland Security, reported few cases of birth certificate fraud. As of 2006, terrorists had not used public records in this country for a terrorist act, according to Jeffrey Addicott, Director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University School of Law, San Antonio, Texas.

A goal of this site is to give our younger descendants a way to connect to their ancestors. I recently talked to a 12 year old in our family, and led her to the Family Tree, using ancestor and descendant tabs to explore, and she was able to see the cousins she wished to see as well as the ancestors. Then she went to the stories. With this small amount of tutoring, she will be able to go back to the bookmarked site and get acquainted with those ancestors. Having birth information places each of the ancestors and cousins in time and place, and makes them more real. I am glad that theives are not able to use that information.