Here’s a closer look at how the government shutdown may have affected identity theft protection.
During the longest government shutdown in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was closed due to a lack in funding along with other key departments such as the FDA, both of which are put in place to protect the public.
While a bill was signed to reopen the government, many are still cautious about how long it will remain open before another conflict causes a shutdown.
Questions like when will federal workers be paid and how are people being protected during the closing have all been a hot topic.
The Federal Trade Commission plays a central role in protecting victims from identity theft and from business monopoly. If anyone feels they have been a victim of identity theft or other financial crimes, contacting the FTC to work on the issue is standard practice.
However, when users logged into the site during the shutdown the following message appeared: THE FTC IS CLOSED DUE TO THE LAPSE IN FUNDING.
That quickly raised the question of what does the public who is already working hard each day to protect themselves from criminals trying to use their personal information for unauthorized purposes do if they have no official protections to turn to when a problem arises?
While no solid answer has been given, there are things you can do to help protect yourself during these times.
Now’s a perfect time, for example, to really tighten the belt buckles on your security practices. Reduce the risk that your personal information will be used illegally by being vigilant about keeping all financial documents and records safe.
Limit who you share personal information with and utilize a professional document shredding company to ensure that sensitive information is destroyed and disposed of properly.
You should also keep a close eye for warning signs that your information may have been compromised and always keep your online passwords private. If you’re receiving emails that seem like they could be a phishing attempt, proceed with caution and don’t click on any links or share any information unless you’re sure it’s from a credible source.
More information on protecting your identity can be found at the FTC website in the media resource library.
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