Was your identity stolen for unemployment benefits? Lynnwood police advise what to do next

Police departments are usually the ones warning the public about scams, but in the case of the recent wave of fraudsters applying for Washington State unemployment benefits, police employees themselves are among the victims.

Like many local police agencies, the Lynnwood Police Department has received numerous reports of residents who were victims of what the State Employment Security Department is calling “imposter fraud.” Victims’ personal information was stolen from other sources — one example provided is the massive external data breach at Equifax —  and are now using it to apply for unemployment benefits amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

One of those personally impacted was Lynnwood Police Commander Sean Doty, who said Monday that someone submitted a claim for unemployment benefits with his information.

Doty recommends taking the following steps if you have been impacted by the scam

  • Create a paper trial for future reference. Keep a file folder or journal documenting the incident and your reports, including case numbers. This file should also include notes, copies of emails and other documentation. Such a file will help you address identity issues or find inaccuracies on your credit history later.
  • Notify your employer’s human resources department. Doty advises to do this as soon as possible so your employer can deny the claim.
  • Contact the State Employment Security Department (ESD) by calling 800-246-9763, or use their online form. Doty says he used the online form but it took several attempts before it finally went through — so keep trying until you receive a confirmation number. “Patience is key (hopefully others experience a smoother reporting process),” he said. Here’s the information you’ll need so they can verify your identity:
    • The last four digits of your Social Security number
    • Your date of birth
    • Your address
    • Your current phone number
    • Information on how you learned a a claim was filed on your behalf
  • File a nonemergency police report with the Lynnwood Police Department.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus: Experian (1-888-397-3742), TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) and Equifax (1-888-766-0008). Tell them a fraudulent unemployment claim was made using your identity, and provide the case number from your police report.
  • Get free credit reports by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228. You should check your credit activity at least once a year. Anyone who is a victim of identity theft can check it monthly if desired.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). File a short report with the FTC and give them the case number from your local police report. To help prevent criminals from creating an account using your identity, you should also consider setting up an IRS account with your Social Security number. You can also lock your Social Security number to guard against IRS tax fraud.
  1. I myself as well as my adult children who reside in Connecticut have been victimized in identity theft not only my living children but my adult child who passed away in soel korea in 2011 has has also been victimized. Please contact me at 475 800 3263 with information on how to handle my current situation. Eunice E Fox- Feliciano

  2. How do I find out if my identity was stolen and used to file false unemployment claims? I’m currently on unemployment due to covid 19 and would like to know how to protect myself.

    1. The easiest way to verify that your social was used is to create an account on the Employment services site. The form will flag your submission if your ssn was used by someone else and will give a partially obscured email address of the person who applied using your number.

      My employer was the one that informed me that they received a claim.

  3. Someone submitted a fraudulent unemployment claim in my name with my SS with the Unemployment Security Dept. So I just tried to file a non-emegency police report as you suggested but the officer rejected the report! He/she said I should submit it to the FTC. Get your recommendations straightened out so that I’m not wasting my time. What a joke…

    1. Was this Lynnwood or another agency? Apparently those decisions are made on a department basis. Some departments take them and others don’t.

      1. I’m in NH. One of my friends works in the unemployment office. I don’t know how your state is handling it but here, apparently, you don’t even need to list an employer in order to file (and be approved for) a claim. So your human resources department may never hear about it. Watch your snail mail since most UI departments send your determination by mail.

        Isn’t it nice knowing our drug dealers are getting UI benefits during this difficult time? (Yup, that part was sarcasm)

  4. Confirmed with Commander Doty that Lynnwood PD is indeed taking reports. Not sure why they didn’t take yours. Sometimes Lynnwood residents are actually in the jurisdiction of Snohomish County Sheriff so that could impact the process.

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