by Yan Ross, ICFE Director of Special Projects

As the federal shutdown enters its second month without a resolution in sight, the effects on consumers, businesses and non-profits are being felt more directly. Not only are the furloughed workers and their families affected, but the citizens they normally serve are beginning to experience the lack of support from these “non-essential” federal agencies.

Identity thieves, and other cyber criminals, on the other hand, are taking advantage of the void in reporting, tracking, compliance, and enforcement activities of agencies like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). As readers will know, the FTC is the repository for identity theft reports and enforcement against such modalities used by criminals as violations of the Do Not Call list.

Nearly all professional advice on the first steps to take in the event of discovering an identity theft incident includes contacting the FTC to file an identity theft report. In addition to filing a police report, the ability to demonstrate prompt action by the affected party may help support insurance claims and other remedies to restore the integrity of the person’s identity.

At the time of this writing, the FTC’s reporting web site shows a shutdown message:
“Due to the government shutdown, we are unable to offer this website service at this time. We will resume normal operations when the government is funded.”

On the prevention and risk management side, consumers and businesses are advised to undertake a current review of all employee training and software updates. Even though this should be normal practice, the lack of federal government support emphasizes the need for up-to-date awareness of scams and social engineering, as well as cyber-attacks, by would-be identity thieves.

Regardless of how long the federal shutdown continues, the best course in the private sector is to stay the course on identity theft and cybersecurity risk management.

For additional resources on specific ways to address this challenge, ICFE directs your attention to the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist® (CITRMS®) XV course and the CITRMS® Textbook and Desk Reference, available online


Yan Ross is ICFE’s Director of Special Projects, and the author of the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course. As an accredited educator for over 20 years, he has addressed Identity Theft Risk Assessment and management for consumers, organizations holding personally identifiable information, and professionals who work with individuals and organizations who are at risk of falling victim to identity thieves.

Source:  Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)