All Points Mobile Shredding Blog
Do government shutdowns increase your risk of ID theft?
Yes—and here’s why.
The United States just experienced the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history, but the prospect of another closure is still looming. In addition to the many effects of this event, including reduced FDA inspections and loss of wages for hundreds of thousands of workers, there is also the fact that identity theft, scams, and data breaches were much more likely to occur. Read on to find out more:
Key government agencies were shut down
During the recent shutdown, two key government websites, Identitytheft.gov and FTC.gov/complaint, where victims of ID theft turn to for help, were shut down. Which left people unable to report the crime or get documentation of their stolen identities. And because this is often the first step taken in an ID theft case, anyone dealing with this issue was left without the ability to start the process of mitigating the damage.
Lack of federal regulators
Also, because many federal agencies are inoperable during a shutdown, there is a lapse in federal regulators and investigators who normally oversee scamming activity, including unsolicited robo-calls, leaving folks more vulnerable. Unscrupulous people looking to steal your personal information or your money are aware of this lapse and seek to take advantage of as many people as they can. Agencies that manage the Do-Not-Call registry and other similar organizations run by federal employees are all closed during a shutdown.
Cybersecurity is weakened
Many government organizations have security certificates that need to be regularly renewed and during a shutdown, especially one that goes on for weeks and weeks, these certificates expire. When this happens, and there is no renewal for a long period of time, everyone who uses these websites is at risk for ID theft. And, because many agencies are understaffed—if not closed entirely, the possibility or a breach increases greatly. Every one of us has personal information on these sites, including the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
What to do to protect yourself
While you cannot access the tools provided by the federal government during a shutdown, you can still take steps to protect yourself. Be sure to check your credit report often and if you feel there’s been a breach, immediately freeze your credit with all three credit bureaus.
Stay on top of shredding all documents that are outdated or unneeded that include your name, address, birthdate, etc.
Identity theft is a risk for everyone and one that requires consistent, preventative monitoring.
While the government is up and running now, it is unclear if another closure will go into effect in the coming weeks. Although there’s no foolproof way to prevent ID theft from ever happening, taking the right steps to protect yourself and your family can greatly reduce your chances.
Regular shredding is key to permanent destruction of documents and devices and reducing the threat of identity theft. Give us a call or fill out a quote request to find out more about our residential and commercial shredding and destruction services. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated company and a leader in the industry in South Florida, we’re committed to helping you keep your personal information safe.