As the federal government enters its third week of a partial shutdown, many people have taken to social media to voice their displeasure about the state of affairs. With many government agencies closed, Americans are airing their discontent over the inability to report instances of identity theft.
Victims of identity theft attempting to contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the issue online are redirected to a website that says the service isn’t operating.
“Due to the government shutdown, we are unable to offer this website service at this time,” the website reads. “We will resume normal operations when the government is funded.”
This reality did not sit well with many.
Somebody tryna steal my identity and the government shutdown so I cant report it to identity theft 😐
— Jolly 🎅🏾 (@jayveteran) January 7, 2019
Hey @realDonaldTrump some weirdo in Texas has my social security number right now but thanks to your government shutdown I’m unable to file a fraud and identity theft report. Some assistance would be much appreciated. 🙏🏽🙏🏽
— Dalton Tannehill (@Elohel9dalton) January 7, 2019
Not to mention those of us harmed by being unable to access government services–for example my identity was stolen Monday and https://t.co/kOaf9v2Jha is down due to the shutdown
— Rob Hornick (@robhornick) January 9, 2019
Watching this coverage on @POTUS about the government shutdown, and I would just like to say that while the government is shut down, two of my credit cards were hacked yesterday and the https://t.co/qpN8qW7FGF website that you’re supposed to use to report these things is down pic.twitter.com/vzsgdOFFil
— nemrac gnof (@hongkongfong) January 5, 2019
Reporting identity theft in a timely manner is vital to preventing a scammer from further damaging your accounts.
Another shutdown impact: https://t.co/OjqzZEYbSx is shut down. On 12/21 Found my SS# & personal info was stolen. Directed by my bank to this site to combat it. Shutdown. Hackers must be happy.
— Nancy Zaklukiewicz (@Nancyzak20) January 7, 2019
When the government is funded, IdentityTheft.gov helps victims create an FTC identity theft report by filling out an online form or calling a hotline.
Victims of identity theft are in for a further headache come tax time, as the IRS is also shut down, which prevents victims from obtaining a PIN to file taxes. As a result, victims may be defenseless against further financial loss.
So what can you do if your identity is stolen during the government shutdown?
If your identity is stolen, the first step is to call the companies where you know the fraud occurred. Ask the fraud department to close or freeze your accounts so no new charges can be made. It is also recommended you change your passwords and PINs.
The FTC also recommends you place a fraud alert and get your credit reports. These companies can set free fraud alerts:
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