Privileged Information: Part One

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

Personal information about you can be found just about anywhere. A lot of this information is open record, which means legally anyone can see it, even potential identity thieves.

According to government officials, your social security number is protected but with the right information, identity thieves can even track that down. Chances are there's even information about you at your local courthouse that anyone can look at.

"You can come in and get a copy of that piece of property (real estate). It's all public record - marriage license. It's all public record," said Dot Owens, Warren County clerk.

You can also check deeds, mortgages, wills and voter registration at your county courthouse and that doesn't include what can be found on city and state levels. All you need is one simple piece of information and up to three days to process a public information request.

"You'll be surprised at the wealth of information you can get with just somebody's name," Detective Tim Aussbrooks said.

"With their name and birth date you can get a birth certificate. With a birth certificate and drivers license you can get a social security card, from there the sky's the limits," said Jeff Nicholas with ADRS Consulting.

Nicholas also said it only takes a few hours for criminals to piece your information together.

"The criminals, they're professionals at this, they've done it before and they can do it again and there's hardly any way to protect yourself from it," Nicholas said.

Owens said her office is doing what it can to secure your personal information. "We are more secure in that department because of social security numbers. Anything with a social security number on it can not leave this office."

Despite this effort, she says everyone should be concerned about identity theft.

"I think identity theft is a constant worry right now. It seems like it's running rampant," Owens said.

Between 8 and 10 million people a year have their identity stolen. FBI statistics show identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.

For more information on public records in Bowling Green, click here.


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