By Edmonds Police Department | Press Release
Edmonds, Wash., February 4, 2021 – The Edmond Police Department is experiencing an increase in unemployment fraud reports. Victims are receiving tax 1099s for unemployment benefits paid out under their name in a different State such as Ohio, Kentucky or Massachusetts where they may or may not have lived in the past.
The following steps should be considered for individuals who are a victim of unemployment fraud.
Step One – Notify the past or current employer related to the benefits claim.
- Contact your organization’s Human Resources (HR) staff to coordinate and report the fraud.
Step Two – Notify the State unemployment office that issued the benefit.
- For Washington State Employment
Security Department (ESD), report the fraud
by calling 800-246-9763 or via their online
form: https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment- benefits-fraud/
- You will need the following information for
- Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)
- Date of birth
- Current phone number
- Information on how you learned a claim was filed on your behalf
- You will need the following information for identity verification.
Step Three – File a Police Report
- File an online or non-emergency police report where you live.
Step Four – Report to the Three Major Credit Bureaus
- Obtain your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. A free credit report is available to all consumers once per year or monthly for ID theft victims.
- Report to the credit bureaus that a fraudulent
claim was made using your identity and provide
them with the case number
from your police
report. You can have a fraud alert
put on your identity or freeze your credit. Either can be done free of charge.
- A fraud alert will make it more difficult for
someone to open new accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact
one of the three credit
bureaus. That bureau
will then notify the other two credit
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
- Credit Freeze – If you do not have upcoming large purchases, such as a home, you may want to freeze your credit for more protection. You can accomplish this by visiting https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
- A fraud alert will make it more difficult for someone to open new accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That bureau will then notify the other two credit bureaus.
Step Five – Federal Trade Commission (FTC) & Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- File a short report with the FTC and provide the case number from your police report https://www.identitytheft.gov/. Additional information can be found at www.ftc.gov/idtheft
- Consider setting up an IRS account at https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account Setting up an account with your SSN can prevent criminals from creating an account using your identity.
- Another option is to lock your SSN at https://www.e-verify.gov/employees
Step Six – Keep Your Notes
- Retain any documents related to your reports and the fraud activity. These will help you if you face any identity issues or locate inaccuracies on your credit history sometime in the future.
Actions to Further Protect Your Data and Identity
The following links, articles and services from non-governmental entities are provided for information purposes only. The Edmonds Police Department does not endorse any particular product or service and does not guarantee the veracity of any information provided.
- Services that lock credit information can help, though you must provide companies with your own personal data, potentially creating more risk.
- There are many sites that will walk you through
securing your own data. You can search “how to do opt-outs
and credit freeze”
or use some of the third-party resources below.
- https://Inteltechniques.com/links.html The workbook linked on the right side of the page will walk you through a credit freeze and removing your data from data brokers and stalker sites. The “Privacy Checklist” is a free printable guide for securing devices, accounts, and personal data.
- https://ssd.eff.org/en The Electronic Frontier Foundation has several guides for privacy and security.
- Most fraud is committed using data obtained from previous internet breaches of hotel chains, entertainment services, and other widely-used digital productivity tools. That is why it is important to never use the same password twice. Get a password manager and use multi-factor authentication: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-password- managers/
- Use multi-factor authentication (a secondary security code) on your most important accounts: https://authy.com/guides/
- Most importantly, be vigilant and watch out for phishing emails, vishing fraud calls, and even things like mail/package theft, which can lead to your identity being compromised.
- Be wary of free apps/offers, which could be mining your data.
Additional Resource Articles:
- “A Guide to Digital Privacy for You and Your Family” https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/security-data-protection/guide-digital-privacy- your- family/
- “How to Protect Your Data as COVID-19 Scams Soar” https://protonmail.com/blog/coronavirus-email-scams/
- “Lifehacker’s Complete Guide to Data Privacy” https://lifehacker.com/s/dataprivacy
- “How to Increase Your Privacy and Security in Zoom” https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-increase-your-privacy-security-zoom/
- “FTC Online Security Tips for Working From Home” https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/online-security-tips-working-home