County clerk steps up fight against forgery scam

Macomb County birth, marriage, death and business certificates are now more secure and protected from forgery scams, according to Clerk/Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh, due to a new system that provides real-time verification and improved security paper.

The holder of a Macomb County birth or death certificate, marriage license or business registration document can immediately verify its legitimacy online, according to Sabaugh.

Glenn Copeland, state registrar with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the service “will provide an efficient way to authenticate the certified copies they issue.”

“This is an important component in ensuring the security and reliability of vital records documents,” he said.

The system reduces the risk of forgery and identity theft scams by letting anyone in physical possession of a Macomb County certified copy verify the document online, according to Sabaugh.

“If you were born in Macomb County and your birth certificate is not printed on our new security paper, now would be a good time to contact my office to get a new copy,” she said. “By using instant online verification and improved security paper, we are making Macomb County documents more secure while reducing the risk of identity theft and forgery.”

The county clerk’s website has a link to enter specific information that appears on the document, including the unique security paper serial number.

The site will instantly verify whether the document is legitimate, Sabaugh said.

Those interested in confirming the authenticity of a Macomb County certified copy of a birth certificate, marriage license, business registration or death certificate should visit the clerk’s homepage — clerk.macombgov.org — and click Vital records verification security check.

Records issued after 2007 may be validated by the system.

A certified copy of a Macomb County birth certificate on the improved security paper can be ordered for $15.

Sabaugh upgraded the security paper used for certified copies.

Features of the security paper include security watermarks and fibers, security background, embossed seals and thermochromic ink.

If a certified copy is photocopied, “VOID” appears across the document.

Each certified copy also has a unique red serial number in the lower left corner, which Sabaugh’s office tracks. Sabaugh started using the special security paper in 2012.

Last year, the clerk’s office issues 11,325 birth certificates, 40,061 death certificates, 10,999 marriage licenses and 6,875 business registrations. The statistics include instances when multiples copies of the same record are requested.

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