Scammers and thieves could take advantage of the government shutdown to find their next victims of identity theft. The FTC may be closed, but you still don’t have to fall prey. Here’s how to protect yourself from identity theft during the government shutdown.
Be on High Alert
As always, be careful when you receive an unsolicited call or email from someone trying to get personal information for you. If someone calls you in search of information, ask questions to get a grasp of whether or not their claim is legitimate. Don’t click on links in emails purporting to direct you to the login page of your banking, credit card, or utility institution. When in doubt, go directly to the web address you’ve always used.
Pick Low-Hanging Fruit
One way the government shutdown is affecting identity protection is by closing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which means that filing an Identity Theft Affidavit (an important part of the recovery process) will be delayed. So, while you’re a little extra vulnerable to the damages of identity theft, be sure to do the easy stuff to protect your identity.
Start the Process
And, if you think you’re the victim of identity theft, don’t let the inability to contact the FTC delay your identity’s restoration. Three of the first four steps to take when you’re the victim of identity theft can be done without contacting the federal government. Get started reviewing your credit report and filing a police report right away. The longer you wait, the more damage can be done.
When the government reopens for business, remember to tie up loose ends related to your case of identity theft. Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit and report scams to the FTC. For additional privacy, add your name to the Do Not Call Registry, which is currently closed as part of the government shutdown.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.