Fake Birth Certificates: Why You Should not Have One and How to Report Them

Fake birth certificates are on the rise, according to National Public Radio and agencies like Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas. They are used by foreign nationals to improve their chances of getting US residency and in some cases, even to fake family ties that do not exist.

Forging a birth certificate is a crime in itself and fake documents are often used to commit further illegal acts. You should never forge a document and you can report those who do.

In this article, you will learn about fake birth certificates, what they are used for, and how to report them.

Why Are People Making Fake Birth Certificates?

False documentation can be used for a variety of illegal and/or unethical reasons. Birth certificates usually give information about the identity and nationality of individuals — in the US, they are required to apply for an American passport, enroll in the military, get married, and more.

Birth certificates are often forged by foreign nationals who wish to enter or remain in the United States for immigration purposes. Individuals may forge their own birth certificate or that of a child to be featured as their parent. That is because families with children who are found traveling together at the border are more likely to be let through to live in the US until their immigration court hearing.

Criminals may also create fake birth certificates to commit identity theft and fraud. It is important to keep your birth certificate safe at all times and not share personal and financial information with anyone you do not trust.

Can I Make a Fake Birth Certificate that Looks Real?

That is unlikely. It is quite hard to make a fake birth certificate look real and only experienced forgers may be able to get away with it.

Forums online simply suggest scanning the document and amending it digitally but that will not get you very far. There are many ways to tell whether a birth certificate is genuine or fake that go beyond simply looking at the document.

Birth certificates present several anti-forgery features such as special paper and embossed or multicolored seals. That is why you cannot use photocopies of your birth certificate for legal purposes.

Birth certificates are issued by the Office of Vital Records of the state where your birth was registered. This means that specific security features vary depending on the state. However, all birth certificates present an official government seal. To tell if a birth certificate is real, also look for the signature of the state, county, or city registrar on it.

Is it illegal to create a fake birth certificate?

Absolutely, and this is the reason why you should not consider doing it. You would be breaking the law and there may be serious consequences.

It does not matter whether the birth certificate was supposedly issued in the US or abroad — knowingly submitting a local or foreign fake birth certificate as part of a legal/bureaucratic process in the United States would be against US laws.

How to Report a Fake Birth Certificate

If you suspect that someone may have a fake birth certificate, you can report them to the relevant authorities. Here is how to do it:

  1. Gather information. Why do you think the certificate is fake? Can you get a copy of the document? Do you know the address where this person lives or works? If they were born abroad, do you know their country of origin?
  2. Choose whether to report anonymously. If you report anonymously, you will not be called to testify. You can report a crime anonymously online or by calling a hotline.
  3. Report to your local police. Depending on the state, having a fake birth certificate may be a felony or a misdemeanor. Either way, it should be reported to the police.
  4. Contact the FBI. Using a fake document to commit fraud is a federal crime. You can report it to the FBI online or by phone.
  5. You may choose to contact ICE. If the fake birth certificate was used to enter the country illegally, you may want to contact ICE online or by phone.