The shutdown mess is making it harder for people to protect themselves.
NBC 5 found some crime victims are hitting a brick wall when it comes to getting help.
When you're a victim of identity theft, one of the first calls victims make is to the Federal Trade Commission.
Dr. Brian Mann realized he was a victim earlier this month when he received an email from Credit Karma asking him if he’d taken out a $35,000 loan from BBVA Compass Bank.
He said he’d never done any business with BBVA and quickly realized he was a victim of identity theft.
“I did get angry initially because, you’re like, dude this is kind of my life you’re messing with here,” Dr. Mann said.
He froze his credit, called the bank then dialed the FTC to file a complaint.
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No one picked up.
Instead he heard an automated message telling him the FTC was closed because of the government shutdown.
“Right now, I'm at Compass Bank’s mercy, so I’m just at the mercy of them trying to figure it out and I have really nowhere to go on my side to go, kind of fight this pretty obvious fraudulent act on my name,” Dr. Mann said.
Identity theft services are one piece of the FTC's suspension. So is its Do Not Call registry.
In a statement, a spokesperson for BBVA Compass Bank said:
“BBVA Compass takes immediate action to investigate and resolve potential fraud cases as soon as possible. While all cases are unique, the process typically includes sending an identity theft information packet to the affected party, restricting potentially compromised accounts and contacting the victim to get full details of the situation as the bank begins its investigation. Once the investigation is complete, steps are taken to ensure minimal impact to any potential victims.”
During the shutdown, Bankrate.com says identity theft victims should be sure to file a police report, contact their bank and freeze their credit.
The three credit reporting agencies are not part of the government.