Native-born Puerto Ricans looking for help to get more secure birth certificates

    People born on the island now have until October 1st to apply for a more secure birth certificate. The old ones had been ripe for fraud.

    Thanks to a deadline extension, people born in Puerto Rico have another three months to apply for new birth certificates before their original ones become invalid. Tuesday morning citizens were crowding a legislative office to get some help with the transition.

    Marisol Mercado was one of more than a dozen people crowded into the north Philadelphia office of State Representative Angel Cruz, applying to get her original Puerto Rican birth certificate replaced. The reason? There was a tradition on the island of providing copies of birth certificates as identification. So many were floating around, Cruz says, that identity thieves began taking advantage.

    “Some people were applying for benefits to welfare, child support, whatever, they were using these for fraudulent use.”

    Mercado says that happened to her five years ago. The Puero Rican government is issuing new, more strictly controlled birth certificates. The old ones were to expire July first, but that deadline has been extended until October first.

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