Submitted by Particular-Canary696 t3_ye751e in LifeProTips

I keep seeing people post pictures of themselves with their Certificate of Naturalization. You risk having your identity stolen by not blotting out the certificate itself. Even if the info is blurry, a determined person can and will be able to figure out what is on there. Your A number, name, date of birth, and country of birth are all on there. Don't risk it.



You must log in or register to comment.

peppermintvalet t1_itwhs0r wrote

Someone posted a wedding picture in front of a courthouse sign with their new last name on a poster. Someone found their home address in about two minutes. And they only did it to warn the couple. Imagine if they were malicious.

Just don't do it.


Ok-Tip9528 t1_ity8dtn wrote

If I had your full name, I could find your address too. sure it makes you an easier target, but it’s already pretty easy.


Lyress t1_ityba5k wrote



UsmcFatManBear t1_itydqhf wrote

Simple property tax lookup based on name.

This is why some people buy houses under an llc to hide the owners


seamustheseagull t1_itystrs wrote

For a country that is so obsessed with personal autonomy, freedom from big government and surveillance, you Americans sure do have a lot of big public databases with your names in them.

Here in Europe, given a name and an approximate location, my odds of finding a current home address are about 1 in 10.


notarobot_notagirl t1_itywvv5 wrote

In Germany you can call the city someone's registered at and ask for a person's home address and they will just give it to you, UNLESS you specifically tell them not to. If you haven't filled out the form for that, which most people haven't (because who even thinks about stuff like this?), anyone can find out. At least having to actually call and talk to a person as opposed to looking it up in a database on your own is one more step people might not want to take.

This isn't common knowledge. I only know because my sibling requested their info to be blocked because of some harrassment a few years ago

Edit: This might not be the case everywhere in the country. It might vary from state to state or even from county to county, idk. I only know about that one specific city my sibling lived in at the time. The point is that you can't make a blanket statement like that for all of Europe, and while it's true that personal information is usually better protected in Europe than it is in the US, you should still be careful with what you put online. In this example a google or database search may not get you anywhere, and at least you can protect yourself by opting out of having your personal info handed out to anyone who asks for it, but still. You gotta know how to protect yourself, and if you don't, it's better to err on the side of caution.

Being protective of your personal information is common in Germany btw. I think it's because back when the gdr was a thing it used to spy on its citizens and stuff, so privacy is a value that has been passed down over the generations.

I'm not the boss of any of you though. You can go ahead and post whatever the heck you want. Just don't be surprised when your identity gets stolen or something


lilweekend t1_iu154jm wrote

What you describe is illegal in Germany. You can’t just request that information as an ordinary person.

So even if you deny the residents registration office to reveal your data, what your friend has done would still work if he called someone who didn’t care about privacy.

Registration offices in Germany can share data under certain circumstances, for example with political parties so they can mail their advertisements, or with churches if you’re a member of a church.


softwhiteclouds t1_itzfhb9 wrote

I had .. umm... dealings involving a Canadian who owned a winery in the US, but tried to pretend he didn't for... reasons.

In about half an hours work I found copies of the county land tax record with his winery's acreage, tax assessment, and name of the corporation; found the state corporation record showing the transfer from the previous owner to his company, signed by him; and found the state alcohol tax authority licence showing the class of licence issued, location of winery, and name of his company with his name as the contact.

It's amazing what's online, publicly available for free. And then there's what's online and available for just a small fee.


johnclark6 t1_itzwe39 wrote

I'm sure if you went more directly to the actual European country as the source it would be easier. Like someone else said, Germany has it all easily available. Maybe it's different in your country, but it probably is easier than you think.


lilweekend t1_iu15qng wrote

What you read about Germany is incorrect; residents registration offices in Germany may only share data under very limited circumstances.


earhere t1_itzqfnt wrote

It's because americans only consider big government taxation against corporations and the wealthy.


slapshots1515 t1_iu13yn4 wrote

That’s simply not a blanket statement you can make, as the odds will go from “near certainty” to “literally impossible” depending on what country in Europe you are in. It’s also not a blanket statement in either direction in America.


defectcriminal t1_itzl2cs wrote

Most people here can’t afford property, and don’t pay taxes on it. It’s not a valuable a Google search as many believe.


LeviAEthan512 t1_ityeys1 wrote

You can't look up the proprietors of an LLC?


ARussianBus t1_ityjbqj wrote

There's some states where it's not public record (Delaware being one iirc). I'm not an expert on that sort of thing but I believe the idea is you register it in a state that keeps it anonymous and you can use it in other states.

If anyone reading this has a thorough understanding of how people commonly keep llcs secret and ways people try to get around that secrecy I've always been curious.


Imortal366 t1_iu00spr wrote

Depends where you are but you often can, sometimes it takes a $5 fee


djjazzyjulie t1_iu0lyww wrote

You can, but a workaround is having a registered agent and a PO Box


lovestobitch- t1_itzonq5 wrote

Also Florida voter registration has your fucking birthday listed along with address and affiliation.


KingOfTheFloridaMen t1_iu0brsj wrote

It’s literally scary how easy it is to find someone’s FL voter record and all their personal information


kittykate1994 t1_iu0ll19 wrote

Yeah North Carolina too. I was googling my grandparents name because I forgot their address and found their voter registration and property tax records. (I just didn’t feel like calling and asking for it I wasn’t doing anything weird).


Averill21 t1_ityjnjo wrote

You can literally google it if you have their name lol


Lyress t1_ityk4q6 wrote

Googled my name and didn't find any address.


petulantpeasant t1_ityuwas wrote

Hey there. My job is literally tracking down people’s property/tax records given their name (and state, but county is a big plus). Happy to give it a go to show how much is out there


Lyress t1_itywko9 wrote

This seems to be a US thing.


JesusLuvsMeYdontU t1_itz2c2y wrote

whitepages dot com and $60 plus $20 for full report. It ain't your grandma's phone book


ExaltHolderForPoE t1_itysj32 wrote

Oh, boy do i have a story to tell.

Back in my early 20s(10-15y ago) when internet was still a bit "Anonymous". I would freqently visit sex/hookup sites. And boy, how easy it was to find out who i was speaking too.

Facebook, phonenumber, general age/area, licenseplate and even usernames gave tons of info towards who they where.

Yes, i was kind of a creep but it was mostly for my "Saftey".


Gadgetman_1 t1_itzobq9 wrote

Someone once put up a webside which only pulled data from twitter...

You just typed in an adddress and it would give you a list of people nearby that was away on vacation. They locked down the system after a day or so because by then they had proven their point.

People willingly and unthinkingly give away a lot of information about themselves, all the time.


Touch_Think t1_iu0dc3n wrote

If you are in US

Fast people search . Com

Remove spaces


La_Saxofonista t1_itz4bt8 wrote

It sucks when you have a really unique name too.

There is only one other person in the world with my name that exists online, so the moment you look up my name, you instantly find both me and her.

You find my middle school accomplishments, pictures of me from high-school and elementary. It sucks.


kittykate1994 t1_iu0lt9m wrote

Yeah I have this problem too. You can see where I was interviewed in the local newspaper when I was 8 two decades ago.


zoidbergs_hot_jelly t1_iu0olpm wrote

Same. Even just my surname pulls up me and my family on the first page. Nobody has my exact name but I know that anyone with the same last name as me is somebody I'm related to, however distant. There's just not a lot of us lol


Touch_Think t1_iu0d458 wrote

While filing some immigration forms I needed my old address from 10 years ago, I found it online, so internet knows about us more than we do 😉


DeTrotseTuinkabouter t1_ity2c3i wrote

> Imagine if they were malicious.

They would know your last name and your address...?

Only risk I can imagine is them robbing your house when they think you might be on a honeymoon. And they would have to be in your region to do so.


Wonderful-Bread-572 t1_ity7lii wrote

Swatting is a dangerous thing that people sometimes do to people online who have been doxed


GrahamDotJpeg t1_itybnoe wrote

Swatting doesn’t just happen to random people who have been opportunistically doxed tho


barricuda t1_ityfzz3 wrote

no but swatting has happened to people for stupid reasons like, "I want their twitter account"


Wonderful-Bread-572 t1_itykzi8 wrote

Unfortunately there have been random people who get targeted by the internet and they get severely harassed and doxed for no reason other than being cringe online or just existing. It's so naive to say that it doesn't happen and it's not a problem lol. Jessi slaughter for example was just a 12/13 year old kid at the time when the internet started picking on her, doxed her, harassed her family, and it basically ruined her life. More recently there was a woman on tiktok who doxed her commenters or anybody who disagreed with her and would send people to harass them or contact their jobs and get them fired. There's plenty of other examples and I almost wish I was naive as you to think this doesn't happen lol


GrahamDotJpeg t1_itylobc wrote

It’s naive to think there’s a significant chance for a random person who was doxed to be swatted which is what you claimed and what I was talking about. I don’t care about those people being doxed lmao I never said people don’t get doxed, I said random people don’t get swatted - be as condescending as you want tho, u still got ratioed


Wonderful-Bread-572 t1_itz6kmz wrote

Well initially you said that you couldn't imagine any risks, and I provided you with one risk lmao. Also there are multiple people telling you what i told you. Have fun with your naivete I suppose


UsmcFatManBear t1_itydl1k wrote

Also most county's have an online searchable database for property tax.

You can search by name and find where people live super easily. This is how most news organizations find where people live to interview them.

It's not some super secret hack lol

You just need a last name and you can find people's addresses.


smoketheevilpipe t1_ityhxtm wrote

From there you can enter the info in a car insurance quote website, And the company will be polite enough to suggest vehicles they found registered to "your" address. You now know where they live and what they drive.


La_Saxofonista t1_itz4k8p wrote

Yeah, but I guess the point is to not make it any easier for them.

It's like locking your door. Sure, it won't stop anyone who really wants to get in, but it's better than nothing.


DragonLance11 t1_ity6544 wrote

They could also mail you weird crap for their own amusement


voluotuousaardvark t1_ityhrci wrote

It sounds like they did it more as a warning. Some people are mental, the last thing you'd want is some Internet creep that's decided they're obsessed with your new wife to turn up on your doorstep with flowers.


RockstarAgent t1_itycju8 wrote

I don’t know if you’re naive or what, but criminals can be dangerous in numerous ways, and your comment sounds so blasé like oh no big whoop getting your home broken into and robbed. Must be nice to be so nonchalant about your personal safety.


DeTrotseTuinkabouter t1_iu017ed wrote

Then could you educate me? What are realistic things a criminal might do?


RockstarAgent t1_iu05ii6 wrote

Straight up a determined criminal can do everything including stealing your identity, then you have to go through a lengthy process to recover it, it's not just a simple "hey I'm the real DeTrotse, don't believe this other guy" and even if it were, unless you had family or people to help you out while you sort everything out, everything can be compromised, your assets / money frozen.

And it's not just exaggerating, it's simply the real world. So when in doubt never share things that can identify you, no matter how little. License plates, names of your pets, where you work, school, gym, etc.

If a criminal "just" breaks into your home and robs you, they can at that point also steal stuff to identify you and then steal your identity. And even if you want to be positive, sure maybe worst case they open a few credit cards in your name and ruin your credit.

You also don't have to live in fear, just exercise caution and logic in not over sharing personal stuff.


beeknees67 t1_ityhv5i wrote

If that’s the worst you can imagine you’ve missed a lot of horrible stuff. Swatting, to start.


DeTrotseTuinkabouter t1_iu01eef wrote

Swatting to my knowledge is very, very rare. And isn't it generally done to streamers? Also only a thing in the USA to my knowledge.

What are the other crimes?


Jorycle t1_itxipbd wrote

So in that specific case I'd say that's kind of silly to worry about. Unless you're a celebrity or have some specific factor that drums up weirdos, no one cares about your address. If somebody wants to be weird to someone, they don't need to find randos on the internet to do it - they can be weird to the multitude of people that live near them. It's not like human beings are a rarity that we need to dox people to track down.

Now personal info that can be used to steal someone's identity, that's another thing and people are always right to worry.


nsa_reddit_monitor t1_itybyki wrote

Also if you're in the US and post a photo that includes an envelope that was mailed to you, there's almost always a postal sorting barcode (that thing that looks a bit like |'•|,,'|, etc) on it that can ID your unique mailbox/address (ZIP+4 and Delivery Point code). The data to do this is publicly available, and even if the barcode can't be scanned, it can be manually decoded because there are only four different bars (short, high, low, and tall).

Black out your entire address and the entire barcode. Seriously, it's super easy to figure out your address, and from there it's not usually hard to find your name. Name and address often means phone, SSN, etc.


ronflair t1_ity6rfl wrote

Unless you’re a Dexter type serial killer who goes after other ne’er do wells. Then by all means, drop hints online as to when you’ll be on vacation while your valuables are left unattended in your basement.


SilverRoseBlade t1_ity9z1o wrote

Seen this with phone numbers in pics that people post of their pets. Gotta black out that stuff!


thephantom1492 t1_itybe3v wrote

A long time ago, in like 1997, there was a woman on a chat channel with her true name. A/S/L was the norm back then. So she go with her true city., enter the name and city, find her phone number, sent it to her in pm. She freaked out. But it was a good wake up call for her. She then used a fake name, and a nearby city.


IV4K t1_ityioys wrote

That’s public information


Zimmonda t1_iu081y8 wrote

Wait till you learn about phone books lol


Devittraisedto2 t1_itwbnp6 wrote

Why would people even want to post those pictures online

I remember someone posted their passport details on facebook, asked why they did that and they never responded.


quadriplegicswimteam t1_itwe63i wrote

That was me and it was because I got busy making dinner and forgot to reply


Particular-Canary696 OP t1_itwddp3 wrote

The most common thing I see is people celebrating that they became a citizen by taking a photo with their certificate in front of the place where they naturalized.


ivanoski-007 t1_ity6uw5 wrote

>Why would people even want to post those pictures online >

Ho to /r/pics or /r/aww and see for yourself why


Lyress t1_itybept wrote

You can't imagine why people would want to post a picture to commemorate a life milestone?


Skalion t1_itzbpn0 wrote

There was a story where like a former (Australian?) prime Minister posted a flight ticket, a guy got all the details from the ticket, could log into the airline, check all flight details and with a little bit of look up in the page details found stuff like Adress, private phone number, credit card info and so on.. Somewhere there is a really detailed blog about what happend up tk the point that the "hacker" got a call with said prime minister to talk about what happend


Bigstar976 t1_itzsvkd wrote

Lifelong goal you want to celebrate with your friends. Really not that difficult to understand. Just blur the certificate. That’s what I did.


my606ins t1_itxggus wrote

My sister answered one of those stupid facebook polls. She gave her daughter's full (married name) and birthday. Then anyone could deduce her daughter's maiden name by my sister's name on fb.

I was going to say something, but once people get over a certain age, you can't babysit them online all the time. I don't have time to explain the internet to people.


notarobot_notagirl t1_ityy2fn wrote

I would agree if your sister only exposed sensitive info about herself. Unless she does this kind of stuff every other day despite having been told not to (and explained to why), it would have made sense to explain it to her, provided you care about either your sister or your niece


my606ins t1_itz5uo3 wrote

Her daughter can see her posts.


notarobot_notagirl t1_iu0ufs4 wrote

Do you know if she actually does see her posts? Just because she can doesn't mean she does.

I have a facebook account, but I haven't been online in months. It's just not popular in my age group anymore. When I do use it I only look at my groupchats and 5-6 specific profiles to keep in touch with people who live far away from me and are active on facebook. I don't look at my feed or whatever. Last I checked I had like 60 notifications, I'm not going to look at them. I'm just hoping no one's handing out my personal data and hope anyone who's close to me would tell me if they did

Anyway, I'm sure your niece is very active on facebook and carefully monitors everything that happens on there, the statement that she can see the posts just doesn't mean much to me


kelloggflakes t1_itxqbzz wrote

You see this with teens when they get their drivers license. I had to tell so many of my daughter’s friends to take the photos off. 🤦‍♀️


Davesven t1_itzyif0 wrote

I’m sure they love their friends mom patrolling their social media posts…


Weary_Ad7119 t1_ityvgp9 wrote

Did you tell them to check their Halloween candy for drugs too?


Suncheets t1_itxv1xm wrote

Guess I'm the only one who has no clue what being naturalized means


anomalyraven t1_ity15tr wrote

Yeah I've never heard of this in any context apart from this thread. What happens if you don't have a certificate of naturalisation? Do you slowly turn into a bot without your knowledge?


SpaceJackRabbit t1_ityb8i9 wrote

In the U.S. you are given your certificate of naturalization the day of, just as you take the oath.


Lyress t1_itybhvm wrote

What a small world you must live in.


D_Simmons t1_itz1z2t wrote

Lmao after reading the thread I learned it's just your citizenship or residency. Why would they call it "Naturalization" lol


MacerationMacy t1_iu0h81o wrote

To distinguish between citizens who were born into citizenship and those who received it later. And it’s not the same as residency


ThenSoItGoes t1_itwbnxq wrote

All of which I can find with a Google search. This isn't a pro tip at all.


Particular-Canary696 OP t1_itwcxaa wrote

While a person's name and date of birth are easily found, the alien registration number (A number) is not. It's like an SSN and is harder to pin down. And like an SSN, it can be used to steal someone's identity. You wouldn't post your name, date of birth, and SSN on the internet for all to see, so you shouldn't post your A number along with your other identification information.


Ayeager77 t1_itx3ex0 wrote

They would. They are too tough for the internet. They googled it.


[deleted] t1_itydx9c wrote



Particular-Canary696 OP t1_ityfhwi wrote

None of this is true. Alien numbers are issued to green card holders (lawful permanent residents or LPRs for short) and many non-LPRs such as illegal non-citizens that are deported or DACA recipients. Next, the A number is still relevant even after naturalization because it is a unique identifier for immigration records. It is the immigration equivalent of an SSN. The naturalized citizen would still need this if, for example, they wanted to petition for a relative or if they needed a copy of their immigration documents for whatever reason, like they lost their original naturalization certificate. Lastly, the naturalization certificate is NOT surrendered upon application for a US passport and is supposed to be returned to you like any other original documents, such as a birth certificate, sent in with a passport application. And even if it were to be destroyed, you can still obtain a replacement certificate by filing an N-565. It is not surrendered unless the subject is denaturalized or they renounce their US citizenship.


VespiWalsh t1_itx66ef wrote

Also how the fuck are people figuring out what is underneath attempts at blurring or blocking out the image? This seems a bit far fetched that people can reverse attempts to cover sensitive information on an image.


RJFerret t1_ityfpvf wrote

Sharpening techniques, especially combined with machine learning processing can de-blur things, also pixelated blurs have been undone if not too extreme. The best is fully opaque black instead of manipulating the imagery, as manipulations may be reversed.


DasBeasto t1_itxtz2x wrote

Some people use the “marker” tool to censor photos because the brush is larger or it’s the default tool. But most marker tools have some transparency to give realistic looking strokes. It’s possible to draw over the image to the point that it looks visually hidden, but if the underlying text is even slightly darker it’s possible to reveal it on a computer.


VespiWalsh t1_ityj0ja wrote

So always use black, duly noted. Thank you!


COMplex_ t1_ityjfcf wrote

Solid black boxes. Never the black marker or highlighter tool. Never blur either since those can sometimes be reversed.

Takes like 30 seconds to uncensor those photos.


Lyress t1_itybx8k wrote

You can find someone's birthday and number with a Google search? How?


r_sharon t1_ityd9c6 wrote

18 U.S. Code § 1426 - Reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers

(h) W͙h͙o͙e͙v͙e͙r͙,͙ ͙w͙i͙t͙h͙o͙u͙t͙ ͙l͙a͙w͙f͙u͙l͙ ͙a͙u͙t͙h͙o͙r͙i͙t͙y͙, prints, ͙p͙h͙o͙t͙o͙g͙r͙a͙p͙h͙s͙, makes or executes any print or impression in the likeness of a certificate of arrival, declaration of intention to become a citizen, o͙r͙ ͙c͙e͙r͙t͙i͙f͙i͙c͙a͙t͙e͙ ͙o͙f͙ ͙n͙a͙t͙u͙r͙a͙l͙i͙z͙a͙t͙i͙o͙n͙ ͙o͙r͙ ͙c͙i͙t͙i͙z͙e͙n͙s͙h͙i͙p͙, or any part thereof— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 25 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism (as defined in section 2331 of this title)), 20 years (if the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (as defined in section 929(a) of this title)), 10 years (in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime), or 15 years (in the case of any other offense), or both.


a_mulher t1_ityf2jp wrote

I guess the key point is “lawful authority”. I’ve photocopied and scanned so many of these because USCIS demands copies in many applications.


zaidsolrac t1_itzt6fj wrote

On the bottom left corner of my Certificate of Naturalization in red capitalized letters it states


You have to be an absolute idiot to post a picture of it online


supreme_jackk t1_itxwt7d wrote

Personal data gets stolen everyday in different ways, bet they already have your personal details from larga data breaches at one of the many hundreds of cooperations you gave your name and email.


Arrasor t1_ity2h0d wrote

Just because you're always at risk doesn't mean it's fine to up the risk some notches.


oNOCo t1_ity51jl wrote

Always use a burner email/phone when hooking up with strangers. ~ me that one time i used my actual when first using Craigslist Casual Encounters and the person let me know what others could’ve done if i wasn’t more careful


MundaneRuxx t1_itz63z3 wrote


Today me and me SO we're watching a YouTube, and I made the comment " hey our backyard is bigger then that nasa scientist." And with only the YouTuber name, my SO pulled up his address, house layout and measurements of his property to check against ours.

Google yourself frequently.


TTuge t1_ityjtmv wrote

Same goes for people posting pictures of their houses, cars they "finally" got paid off etc. Yeah sadly many people only learn the hard way.


Bigstar976 t1_itzqv2c wrote

The immigration officer warned us of that on the day I took my oath. Made sure to erase the actual certificate before posting.


keepthetips t1_itwbgtx wrote

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

Please help us decide if this post is a good fit for the subreddit by up or downvoting this comment.

If you think that this is great advice to improve your life, please upvote. If you think this doesn't help you in any way, please downvote. If you don't care, leave it for the others to decide.


SparklyDewgong t1_iu0p0zx wrote

At first I said “who would post that?” But then I think of the dumb people who post gift card numbers and credit card info too.

Side note; The whole thing is a joke.

My first green card never came in the mail. DHS and USCIS gave me the tracking number after asking for it, two months after when it should’ve arrived. It was sitting at my nearest USPS distribution center for over a month. When I went there to pick it up, they said they don’t hang onto that stuff and it’s likely been returned to sender aka the government. Hours later on the phone with a rep from the feds, they told me they never received any return mail with my green card. I knew someone likely swiped it at that point. Cherry on top, they said if I want to request a new copy of my green card it would take up to nine months and X more dollars to file the form. Luckily I had an attorney who had good repoire with the USCIS agents I had met with. He convinced them that I “didn’t lose” my green card because I had never received it. They waved the fee and stamped my Canadian passport with the equivalent info until my new one came in the mail.

I got my replacement passport almost half a year after that, right around the time I began filing for my five year GC.

Became a citizen July of 21.

Because of covid, my appointment letter said no family in the courthouse. When I got there, half the people brought 3,4,5 etc family with them. Was super pissed off. My whole immigration process was disappointing. Went home, made a few photocopies of my certificate and threw them in my firebox never to see the light of day. The whole adventure was a ducking joke. But hey I just registered to vote just in time for next month so that’s cool.

Side note - I posted one picture online and it was a white red and blue birthday cake with the words No Deporte (an inside joke with my American in laws)


Coco413 t1_iu2vbd7 wrote

This goes for taking pictures with a medical bracelet on at a hospital as well.


sinnerdoll t1_iu34es7 wrote

better not to post things online. people tend to document everything. smh


Salzberger t1_ityl6a8 wrote

Also, far more importantly, no one gives a shit.


noise-by-numbers t1_itylb9d wrote

No. If they are that dumb, let it be a lesson to them. We shouldn’t have to explain this to them.