Time Running Out For Puerto Ricans To Get Birth Certificates


CENTRAL FLORIDA - Time is running out for Puerto Rican families to get new birth certificates. All citizens have been ordered to get new certificates by October 30.

However, WFTV found out that many people from Central Florida have not.

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Ada Serano was required to hand over an official copy of her birth certificate countless times.

"Everywhere you go they ask you for a birth certificate, original one by the way," Serano said.

Years later, she was the victim of identity theft.

"They were using my social as if they were self employed. We couldn't track them down," she said.

Her experience is the reason three million Puerto Ricans are now required to get new birth certificates by October 30.

"For everything you do in life, you were asked to turn in an original copy of your birth certificate," Kenneth Mcclintock of the Puerto Rico Dept. of State said.

Mcclintock was in Orlando Thursday to remind locals that time is running out. Central Florida has the second largest number of Puerto Ricans outside the island. He says they're all potential victims of identity theft.

"There were 30 times more fraud cases involving Puerto Rico than any other state in the union," he said.

That's because all those copies made it easy for criminals to get their hands on a birth certificate and sell it or use it as their own.

With the old ones now obsolete, Puerto Ricans in Florida won't be able to renew their driver's licenses unless they have a new certificate.

"We're working overtime. We have 24-hour service," Mcclintock said.

Long waits at renewal drives forced the deadline to be extended twice. Now leaders are hopeful that by October 30, Puerto Ricans will be ready and better protected.