Saturday, July 2 2005

Surfing Identity

So, nearly two weeks after I gave notice at my current job, I finally got the written offer letter and new-hire packet from the new one. I wasn’t terribly worried about the offer suddenly being withdrawn, leaving me out of work; anything that happened would be at best a temporary HR glitch, and I’m in excellent shape financially.

The worry came when I read the current version of the I-9 form and searched the house for acceptable documentation. I’ve never had a passport, and I couldn’t find either my Social Security card or a copy of my birth certificate. They’re both around here somewhere, but I haven’t needed them in 12 years, and my filing system is a touch “chaotic”.

Applying for a new SS card is easy, but they mail it to you in 7-10 days. It might arrive in time, but it might not. So I went to Google and asked it to conjure up the appropriate department of the Ohio state government for acquiring birth certificates.

I expected to get a short list of random offices with phone numbers. What I got instead was a long list of companies who will cheerfully sell you certified copies of birth certificates online, “just what you need to prove citizenship!”. Some of them looked reputable, others looked more than a little dodgy. The ones who promised the fastest service tended to look the dodgiest, taking shortcuts in the critical area of verifying your identity. Your credit card, yes; your right to have a certified copy of someone’s birth certificate, not so much.

So I called Mom. Her I trust.