Identity Loss

Between the Events of September 11 and working in downtown Chicago where over the last three weeks or so I’ve been asked to show ID for everything short of unrolling toilet paper in the bathroom stall, and while considering rapid departure from the skyscraper I work in, a thought has occurred to me –

In this world of laminated paper documents, what happens if you lose all your ID?

I’m thinking about those folks who ran for their lives from the WTC and the Pentagon - if you run like hell with no time to grab your purse or briefcase and all your possessions left behind, including your precious ID, are destroyed what then?

I mean, how do you get a picture ID replaced if you have no pieces of paper proving who you are? How could you go to your bank and withdraw funds with no ID? If you go to DMV to get a new driver’s license and they say “we need two forms of ID” and you say “Sorry, all my ID is 50 feet below the rubble of WTC #1” what then?

What, you go in front of a judge with 14 of your best friends who will swear you are who you claim to be? You use your dental records to have your body identified pre-death?

Has any straight doper gone through this little nightmare?

You can request a certified copy of your own birth cerificate, assuming you’re born in the U.S. Here’s a link to Vital Records:

Also, if you had your fingerprints taken for employment or DMV, or (gasp!) criminal activity, that’s another way to prove who you are.

Many people in gov’t jobs & private companies hang their ID around their necks or have it clipped to the front of their clothes.

Well, yeah, I’ve got a work ID with my name on it - but it’s not a driver’s license, social security card, voter registration, or my pilot license. Since I’ve stayed out of trouble I’ve never been fingerprinted, nor have I ever worked at a job where that is necessary. As far as I know, my fingerprints are one of the few things about me that AREN’T in a database somewhere.

You mean just anyone can request a copy of my birth certificate without proving they have business having it?

I don’t know the answers, but guess that some companies keep ID information, including photos of employees, on a computer server.

I think the states have different laws about information on other people like DMV records, birth records, etc. Looking just quickly at that link above, it seems if you make a request and attach payment, that’s all that is needed.

If you lose all of your ID, and you own real estate, there would be real property records with your signature, I imagine. Also, if you rent, there would be maybe a lease with your signature. If you have to reapply for your documents, I think on some that you must sign under penalty of perjury, like maybe applying for a U.S. Passport.

I’m starting to think of a lot of documents you can get and replace to prove who you are.

<<You mean just anyone can request a copy of my birth certificate without proving they have business having it?>>

Well, not just anyone. I actually went through this situation myself-- losing all my ID, not having it crushed beneath a building, thank the Gods.

In Oklahoma, you can get a copy of ANY birth certificate if you know ALL of the following things:

Name of the person born
Date and location of the birth
Name of their mother, date and location of HER birth
Name of their father, date and location of HIS birth.
Lots of people request these for geneaology reasons.

You can request a new Social Security card mailed to your address on record IF you’ve filed a tax return last year, also.

There are only two reasons I can think of to want someone not to have my birth certificate; one is because it has personal info; however, the only personal info on my birth certificate that I don’t have to know to get a copy of it is the fact that I’m a single child, and wasn’t one of a multiple birth, either living or stillborn.

The second reason to want someone not to have it is so they can’t use it as identification to pretend to be me. Now, there’s two reasons they could want a fake ID. One is because I’m 26 and old enough to drink, but young enough that someone just underage could pass for my age. Now for obvious reasons if someone gets busted on that ID, the jig is up and I don’t take the rap for it. The second reason would be to commit credit fraud of some sort; and frankly, they can do that with just my SSN, which thanks to my college career is probably kicking around everywhere on the planet, and is MUCH easier to find than a copy of my birth certificate.