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News Release

BE PROACTIVE IN PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY,
PREVENTING ID THEFT

Clerk Bock urges Palm Beach County residents to review online records

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (May 17, 2010) – With concerns growing about privacy on popular social networking sites such as Facebook, more people are turning their attention to what information might be available about them online.

As you check your privacy setting on your Facebook account, Clerk Sharon Bock says it’s also a good time to see what information is available about you in public records by checking the online records available on the Clerk & Comptroller’s Web site, www.mypalmbeachclerk.com.

Florida clerks are required by law to maintain and provide to the public copies of records such as mortgage documents, deeds, and marriage licenses. The law required that many of these records be posted online as of 2002, with private information such as Social Security, bank and credit account numbers removed from all records by 2011. Well ahead of that deadline, the Clerk’s office in Palm Beach County has scanned and redacted legally-mandated personal information from all records dating back to 1968.

“It’s important to me that the public’s right to privacy is protected, as well as their right to access public records,” said Clerk Bock.  "By using state-of-the-art technology, we’re able to ensure that both those interests are met.” 

You can protect yourself further by excluding Social Security or account numbers from any court or official records documents you file with the Clerk’s office, unless such information is required by law or court rule. Should you find personal information on any records, you have the right to request the Clerk’s office to remove such information.

While many records are required to be online, others are exempt. Since June 5, 2002, the following records are not allowed to be posted online in Florida: military discharges, death certificates and court files related to family, probate or juvenile cases. Anyone involved in such cases before June 5, 2002, must request in writing that the information be removed from online searches.

People who work in certain protected occupations, such as law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges, also can request that certain personal information be removed from public records. A list of qualifying occupations and Request for Confidentiality forms can be found on the Clerk & Comptroller’s office Privacy page at www.mypalmbeachclerk.com.

To search official records in Palm Beach County, visit the Official Record section of www.mypalmbeachclerk.com. On the Clerk’s Web site, you will also find more information about protecting your privacy in public records.

The Florida Constitution established the independent office of the Clerk & Comptroller as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Sharon Bock is directly elected by and accountable to Palm Beach County residents.  In addition to the roles of Clerk of the Circuit Court, County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, the Clerk & Comptroller is the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Palm Beach County.

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