Don’t Let Need for Certificates Lead to Fraud, Extra Costs
The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is warning that potential fraud, unnecessary high fees and frustration can result if residents are not cautious of online providers promising extra speedy Wyoming birth, death and other certificate services.
“We frequently receive complaints from customers who have used companies claiming they can quickly get official certificates even though our office is the only source of these documents,” said Guy Beaudoin, deputy state registrar with the WDH Vital Statistics Services Office.
Beaudoin estimated online search engines currently show about 10 sites offering vital records services, with a handful listed above the WDH official site because the companies have paid search engine advertising fees.
“We’ve recently noticed at least three of the questionable services ask for social security numbers, which we do not request. Unfortunately, this is likely an effort to scam applicants by dishonestly gathering their personal information,” Beaudoin said.
“We’ve also heard of companies accepting money and then doing absolutely nothing in response or sending outdated forms or information to customers,” he added.
Vital Statistics Services charges no more than $20 for official documents. “Secondary providers charge much more. One site is currently charging $157 and all they do is send the customer a copy of our application form,” Beaudoin said.
“We do not want anyone to be fooled by the unrealistic service claims these online-based companies make and we don’t want them to pay unneeded high fees,” he said. “Unofficial sources collect consumers’ information, have them sign a release document and then simply forward a completed application to our office for processing. It’s an added step that adds time rather than getting people what they want any faster.”
“When people contact our office directly we do our best to help get what they need quickly,” Beaudoin said. “Certificate requests are processed within three days. Documents may be received within a week depending on the shipping method.”
Anyone needing official Wyoming birth, death or other certificate services should visit the official WDH web site at https://health.wyo.gov/admin/vitalstatistics/. People may also choose to call 307-777-7591 for help or visit the Vital Statistics Services office in Cheyenne at 2300 Capitol Avenue on the Hathaway Building’s first floor.