Identity Theft

The Websites You Can’t Access Because of the Government Shutdown

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The partial shutdown of the U.S. government has affected millions of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of government employees have been furloughed or are working without pay.

Without all those employees at work, scores of services have been interrupted, and some government offices have cut off their largest source of information: their websites.

Most dot-gov domains bear disclaimers — some are quite eye-popping — saying information may not be up to date because of the shutdown. Many offices gave an indefinite farewell on their social media accounts, too. In most cases, users can access the sites for general information and past posts.

And others have posted figurative “Do not enter” signs by effectively shutting down their sites.

Among the sites that went into hiding is the home to the Census Bureau, a wealth of data about the country and the more than 300 million people who live here. Joining the Census Bureau in the dark is the Federal Trade Commission, an agency that handles identity theft complaints and is dedicated to consumer protection. People can still file Freedom of Information Act requests through the site, but they will not be processed during the shutdown.

The Federal Communications Commission has a website that evokes the era of the last government shutdown, which was in 1995. All text, one typeface. “FCC online systems will not be available until further notice.”

Several other departments followed suit — like NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Capital Planning Commission — but overall, few agencies limited access to their websites.

Many sites important to personal finance remain available, though without many updates, if any. Student borrowers can access financial aid information on Department of Education sites, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s site shows no notice of the shutdown. A few government sites have continued to post some updates, like the National Weather Service and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, because their information can be crucial to safety.

Image: iStock

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