The Federal Trade Commission’s website that will allows victims to report identity theft along with file fraud claims will be currently down.
On fresh Year’s Eve, 23-year-old Dalton Tannehill commenced chatting on Grindr having a man who called himself “James” along with claimed to be a sugar daddy who could help him with his credit card debt. After some convincing, Tannehill gave James his bank login along with Social Security number. although the sugar daddy turned out to be a scammer. When Tannehill realized what had happened, he contacted his bank along with tried to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission. although because of the partial government shutdown, which has so far lasted 19 days, he can’t.
Tannehill isn’t alone: Others are saying that will they can’t properly report their identity thefts because of the shutdown, either. The delay will be exposing people impacted by fraud during the shutdown to the risk of even more theft, as well as a more complicated process when they are able to start getting their financial records in order.
Tannehill’s story about getting scammed isn’t unusual. Scammers target victims in many ingenious ways, including catfishing lonely people on the internet along with extracting their money, setting up fake celebrity accounts to convince fans to send bitcoin, along with even stealing their own kids’ identities.
Fake sugar daddy schemes, like the one that will targeted Tannehill, are increasingly popping up on the gay dating app Grindr. The accounts entice unsuspecting users to hand over personal information, open fresh lines of credit, along with purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of gift cards.
Tannehill said his bank described his setup as “the newest scam” when he called to report that will.
Via text message, James, the fake sugar daddy, promised to pay Tannehill’s bills along with requested his credit score. When Tannehill said he couldn’t produce a screenshot of his credit report, James said, “I’m gonna be taking care of all your responsibilities coming from right now on baby” along with asked for Tannehill’s Social Security number. To win his trust, James asked for his bank account information along with transferred $2,480 to cover Tannehill’s outstanding credit card debt. “Before the payment was processed, I was obviously suspicious … along with when [that will processed], I felt, ‘Okay, not bad. This particular will be legit. I actually have a real along with legitimate sugar daddy!’” Tannehill said.
that will’s why Tannehill did what James asked along with applied for multiple credit cards. “I felt he did me This particular favor — I might as well spend at least $1,000 to be paid back again. No worries, I assumed, since the payment went through initially,” he said.
Walmart was one of the retailers that will approved Tannehill, so at James’ urging, he purchased $1,000 worth of Google Play Store gift cards using the fresh line of credit. James asked Tannehill to send him the codes on the back of the gift cards, which James said he’d pay him back for. After Tannehill obliged, James immediately requested more gift cards. Tannehill said the request “reeked of sketchiness,” although the $2,480 transfer made him believe James was the real deal.
When James suddenly became agitated along with commenced sending multiple texts when he wouldn’t respond fast enough, Tannehill ultimately suspected he had been scammed.
The next day, Tannehill blocked James’ phone number. In bank documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News, James’ $2,480 transfer was retracted coming from Tannehill’s account days later.
“I just realized I needed to block him along with cut off all communication, along with report This particular as soon as I possibly could, whenever This particular shutdown ends, or any various other way,” Tannehill told BuzzFeed News.
Identity theft will be serious: Perpetrators can use someone’s personal information to open fresh credit cards or accounts in their name, make unauthorized purchases, or steal their tax refund.
According to the FTC, identity theft was the second-most-reported consumer complaint in 2017. Credit card fraud, the most common type of identity theft reported by consumers, went up 23% coming from the previous year. Last year’s numerous data breaches further emphasized how millions of people within the US are vulnerable to identity theft — although right right now, the federal agencies that will help them deal with This particular are closed down.
On its website, which will be still accessible, the Federal Trade Commission, the government’s consumer protection agency, points victims of identity theft to two websites: IdentityTheft.gov along with FTC.gov/complaint. Instead of resources along with reporting tools for fraud, visitors will find a notice that will states, “Due to the government shutdown, we are unable to offer This particular website service at This particular time. We will resume normal operations when the government will be funded.”
People are not only frustrated, although they’re also exposed to more risk the longer that will takes to report their identity theft, said Hotspot Shield cybersecurity analyst Robert Siciliano.
“In general, when there will be a claim, say, a fresh card opens under victim’s name, the retailer or bank doesn’t initially believe that will the victim will be, in fact, the victim. They’re inclined to think that will victim will be trying to skirt responsibility. Having government-issued documentation gives the victim the basis to file a claim,” Siciliano told BuzzFeed News.
IdentityTheft.gov provided victims with that will necessary government-issued documentation. The site allowed victims to create an FTC identity theft report by completing an online form or calling a hotline (1-877-438-4338), both of which are inaccessible due to the shutdown.
that will’s not just the FTC: The IRS will be also shut down, preventing victims coming from requesting a personal identification number that will would certainly deter fraudulent tax refunds.
IRS form #14039 will be an identity theft affidavit used to inform the IRS that will someone stole your identity. The IRS will then generate an identity protection personal identification number, designed to add another layer of protection, every year. that will PIN will be used to file tax returns, which cannot be submitted to the IRS without that will. Because the agency will be shut down, victims can’t verify or apply for identity protection PINs.
“This particular opens the door for a criminal to dive deeper into the victim’s identity along with cause more financial loss, which within the long run will result in more time expended in cleaning up the mess,“ Siciliano said.
If your identity has been stolen, here’s what you can do during the shutdown.
You can view a list of steps on the Web Archive for what to do immediately after discovering your identity theft. As advised by the FTC, fresh victims impacted during the shutdown should place a fraud alert with each credit bureau: Experian, TransUnion, along with Equifax. Additionally, Siciliano recommends people contact their state attorney general: “They’re within the best position to work on your behalf.”
although, above all, Siciliano advises victims along with potential victims to be persistent: “Maintain all documentation. Make whatever phone calls you need to make. Contact your bank or the companies you need to contact. Do whatever you can.”