Recently, there have been a lot of reports about false unemployment claims being filed for people that are still employed and did not initiate the process.
It’s been reported that there have been “hundreds of millions of dollars” lost to fraudulent claims so far in Washington State alone.
If you have received a notice that an unemployment claim has been filed for you in Washington State, but you did not file any claim, you can contact the Employment Security Department’s web page to file a fraud reporting form.
If you are not a victim of the current imposter fraud scheme, one thing you can do, even if you are still employed and do not have a need to file a claim at this time, is register an ESD web page login that will link your email address to your Social Security number.
Once that is done, you will know two things:
- That there has not been a previous registration of your email/SS# combo already filed and
- If you, unfortunately, become the victim of fraud in the future, the notice will go to your email address, so you will at least know that there is fraudulent activity happening on your account and you can take steps to report it.
Here is additional information if you think you’ve been a victim of fraud…
Information you will need to provide when reporting benefit fraud to ESD:
- Your full name
- Last four numbers of your Social Security number (never put your full SSN in an email)
- Your address
- Your date of birth
- A brief description of how you found out an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information. Include your driver’s license number so ESD can verify your identity.
- Specifically, give ESD permission to cancel or deny the claim if an imposter-fraud claim was filed using your information.
Additional steps you can take if you believe you are a victim of fraud:
- Go to the FTC identity theft website for great resources on reporting including steps to add a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies.
- Request your free credit reports via www.annualcreditreport.com and review them for other fraudulent activities.
- Go to atg.wa.gov/recovering-identity-theft-or-fraud for additional tips from the Washington State Attorney General
- Learn more about other scams and how to protect yourself on the state’s coronavirus website
- Fraud can also be reported by phone to the Office of Special Investigations by calling 800-246-9763.
Currently, there are a lot of Phishing emails being sent regarding your Secure Access Washington account. Here is an example of such an email:
Please note that the email address shown for the “SAW” is not one for the department, nor is it even from this country (it’s from France).
This kind of email is looking for you to click on the link and enter information they can use for other identity theft actions including your unemployment status.
It is important to make sure you aware of these different scams going on, including unsolicited phone calls. You should really make sure elderly parents are not being taken by these scam tactics.
By John Mitchell