The Seattle times reports that Washington state has lost “Hundreds of Millions of dollars” to unemployment fraud amid the surge in claims due to coronavirus. Attentus alone has caught several claims processed for employees who are currently working full time and did not file anything themselves. This is identity theft, plain and simple, and you need to be aware of how malicious actors are using your information. Here are some simple ways to determine if you are a victim of this identity theft in Washington State.
Go to the Washington State unemployment agency and create a new account. Follow the set-up instructions but do not apply for benefits. If you get an error that the "account already exists," someone is probably using your social security number to register for benefits. If you already have an account, take a moment to sign in and make sure the claims information is correct.
If you find your information has been compromised there are a few steps to ensure you do not end up on the hook for this fraud.
Step One: Report it to the State
Step Two: Report it to the Federal Trade Commission
Step 3: Put a credit freeze or issue a fraud alert with the three major credit reporting bureaus.
Step 4: Request your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
Obtain your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. Look back over the past twelve months and verify each account was opened by you. If you find something suspicious, report it immediately.
This is happening all over the country as states adopt an internet-based filing process. These attempts illustrate the need for better data hygiene and systems to prevent criminals from using your information. We’re living in troubled times; stay as safe as you can.
If you would like a free security assessment, including a “dark web” scan please reach out and schedule a time with us via our calendar.