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Latino Daily News

Monday June 28, 2010

Identity Theft Criminals are Targeting the Puerto Rican Community

Puerto Ricans are the ideal victims for identity theft criminals because of the feasibility to obtain their documents. Many Puerto Ricans have been affected by the document-fraud scheme to hide illegal immigrants in the United States. They’re records are kept unguarded in schools, and church rectories, coupled with the fact that they all are American citizens with Hispanic names makes them an ideal target.

Typical Puerto Rican tradition requires birth certificates to enroll in schools or join churches, sports teams, or other groups, which often times keep these important records in unsecured offices or drawers.

There have been several identity-theft ring busts in Puerto Rico and the States, with one case in which the identity of 7,000 public school children was stolen over a period of two years. In another unsettling case, a Puerto Rican Department of Motor Vehicles employee is accused of stealing 1,200 drive’s-license renewal forms.

The Puerto Rican governor in an effort to combat identity theft-fraud is going to void Puerto Rican birth certificates as of July 1st, and require about 5 million Puerto Ricans, (including 1.4 million in the States), to reapply for new ones. All old birth certificates will be annulled by Sept. 30.

The new law fails to address the countless passports, driver’s license and other documents issued to the holders of false birth certificates. The law only makes it difficult to obtain false documents in the future, but does nothing to salve the problem of the ones already in circulation.

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