Identity thieves interested in buying someone else's birth certificate may not have to look very hard, as Puerto Ricans in New York say a certificate from Puerto Rico is easy to find.
The government of Puerto Rico says hundreds of thousands of copies of birth certificates from the island are floating around unprotected and can sell for as much as $10,000.
"Puerto Ricans are selling the birth [certificates]," said one Bronx resident. "They got so many in here pretending to be Puerto Rican, but they are not."
An old law required Puerto Rican residents to leave original copies of their birth certificates in various public and private offices as they filled out paperwork, which opened the door to massive identity theft.
Puerto Rican-Born New Yorkers Have To Get New Birth Certificates
"If you physically look Latino or physically look Puerto Rican, and you show up with a Puerto Rican birth certificate, no questions are asked," said Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano. "Because Puerto Ricans, as you know, are born American citizens and can just leave Puerto Rico and travel to the United States."
Now, a new law that takes effect on July 1 will force anyone born in Puerto Rico to get a new birth certificate.
"The objective of this law is it will invalidate the old birth certificates so that they will lose their value on the black market," said Luis Balzac of the office of Puerto Rico's governor.