Key Steps to Take to Counter Unemployment Fraud
Updated: Jun 15
Washington State has been hit with a massive wave of fraudulent unemployment claims. You may learn you’ve been impacted when your employer receives a benefits verification letter, or you receive a letter from the Employment Security Department at your home address.
Whether or not you’ve been notified, you can determine if your identity has been compromised by registering for a Secure Access Washington account with the Employment Security Department. Complete the registration as if you are filing for unemployment, but then do not file. During the set up process, you will be able to see whether someone using a different email address has created a profile under your name and social security number.
Here are key steps that are recommended if someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment under your social security number:
1. Contact Washington State Employment Security Department to report the fraud.
You will be asked to provide your name, last four of your SSN, address, date of birth and brief description of how you found a fraudulent claim was filed using your information.
2. Inform your employer
3. File a police report as it is needed for reporting to the credit bureaus.
4. Report the fraudulent activity to the three Major Credit Bureaus.
5. File a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission.
6. File Form 14039 with the IRS
7. Go to the WA State Attorney General site for additional tips
Here are additional steps to take to protect yourself from Identity Theft:
1. Put an alert on your credit file with the three reporting agencies, or a full credit freeze. Be sure to get at least one free credit report before you freeze them. Note that all three agencies have increased their allowance of free reports from one per year to weekly, through April 20, 202. If you decide to perform a credit freeze remember this needs to be removed prior to applying for any type of credit, certain background reference checks, etc.
2. Set up an IRS account. If you create an account with your social security number, it will prevent criminals from creating an account using your identity and help prevent tax fraud.
3. Add dual factor authentication to all of your financial accounts if you haven't already.