Recently, many of us in our Seattle office have become aware of another “risk” associated with Covid-19 – identity theft. This time, the fraud is coming in the form of unemployment claims filed by imposters who are targeting unsuspecting working individuals. Washington State residents have been hit especially hard by these fraudulent claims, and in response, the Washington State Employment Security Department temporarily suspended payment of claims. They have resumed paying claims, and have provided guidance for individuals to follow in determining whether they have been victims of this fraud, and if so, what they should do.
Here are steps that you can follow to see if you have been the victim of a fraudulent claim:
- Set up a Secure Washington Account (SAW), https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/
- Sign into your account and begin the process of filing an unemployment claim, even though you won’t be completing the entire claim.
- At the “verify my identity” step, you will be able to see if anyone has accessed your account or even filed a claim on your behalf.
- Verify your account by entering your email. This will effectively “freeze” your account with SAW and prevent anyone from filing a claim in your name.
- Notify the Employment Security Department if you have been victimized. You can do this on the SAW website noted in step 1 above.
- Access and review your free credit reports from the credit reporting agencies, Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. https://annualcreditreport.com
Please reach out to your advisor or our client service team if you have any questions or concerns.