Clerk Gives Advice on Avoiding Online Vital Record Ordering Scam

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Lake County Clerk Carla Wyckoff (above) advises against using expensive online services that offer to act as agents for expediting your vital certificate applications as you can obtain the same record from the clerk’s office at a much lower cost.

“Online vendors sometimes charge customers ten times more than our published fees, and they ultimately send your order to us to be fulfilled,” said Wyckoff in an issued statement. “Protect your wallet and identity by ordering certified or genealogical copies of Lake County birth, death, marriage, or civil union records directly from our office.”

The County Clerk’s office is the official keeper of Lake County vital records. Certified birth, marriage or civil union record fee is $10 for first copy and $4 each additional copy. A death record fee is $14 for the first copy and $8 for each additional one. Uncertified records marked “For Genealogical Purposes Only” are available for $4. To protect the integrity of these records, access is restricted by state statute. To prove their eligibility, applicants are required to complete a written application and provide valid identification.

For those who cannot visit the clerk’s office, downloadable application forms can be found at LakeCountyClerk.info under the Vital Records tab. Print and mail your completed form with copies of the required identification and payment. Normal processing time is two working days once your request is received.

Those requiring expedited shipping, wishing to pay by credit card, or sending us a request by fax or email may use the clerk’s only online service partner, VitalChek (www.vitalchek.com) who adds a $7 processing fee plus shipping charges if you choose overnight or two-day delivery.

Investigate any website vendor before using them and carefully read the supplier’s terms of service. Some applications require sensitive or personal information, including a Social Security Number. The service may keep a copy of your requested record for themselves or not issue a refund if the order cannot be processed because access to the record is restricted.

The Lake County Clerk’s Office is at 18 N. County Street, Room 101 in Waukegan. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays not before a holiday weekend, the clerk’s office offers extended evening hours until 7 p.m.

For identification requirements, record access restrictions, or calendar of office hours, visit the Vital Records web page at LakeCountyClerk.info, call 847.377.2411, email vitalrecords@lakecountyil.gov, or fax 847.360.3608.

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