Legislation in Vermont Will Limit Access to Birth Certificates

The following excerpt is from an article in the April 25, 2011 edition of the Burlington Free Press.

MONTPELIER — It’s so easy to get certified copies of birth certificates in Vermont that at least one state no longer will accept them as identification for fear of identity theft.

Legislation expected to pass the House today would change that, restricting who can ask for certified copies of birth and death records.

“We’re partly closing our records because right now anyone, anywhere in the world can get your birth certificate,” said Rep. Linda Martin, D-Wolcott, who also is the Wolcott town clerk.

Vermont is one of only three states that allows anyone to obtain a certified copy of a birth or death certificate, said Richard McCoy, the state Health Department’s public health statistics chief. With more states placing restrictions, those looking to steal identities are starting to zoom in on Vermont, he said. Identity thieves have been known to use birth certificates to obtain other identification that allows them to acquire credit cards and passports.

The House bill, which the Health Department sought, would allow only the person on the certificate or specific close family members to obtain a certified copy. Others who are merely interested in the information on the records — when or where someone was born or the person’s cause of death, for example — will be able to obtain uncertified copies.

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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