Talk about an extreme way to tackle identify theft: This July Puerto Rico will invalidate every birth certificate it has handed out. Its 4 million residents, and the 1.2 million Puerto Ricans living in the US, will then have to reapply for the document. The government hopes the radical decision will cut down on fraud, which is so rampant that an estimated 40% of US passport fraud cases center around Puerto Rican birth certificates, many of which are sold on the black market for thousands, reports ABC News.
To wit: Though about 45,000 children were born in there in 2008, the country's vital statistics office issued some 860,000 certified copies. Part of the problem may also stem from the fact that Puerto Ricans hand out such copies like one would a resume or business card, making them easy to get a hold of. "I don't know why we do it," said a government director. But "anybody who grew up in Puerto Rico saw it happen."