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 identity verification.
      • Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN)
      • Date of birth
      • Address
      • Current phone number
      • Information on how you learned a claim was filed on your behalf

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 bureaus.
      • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
      • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
      • Equifax: 1-888-766-0008

Step Five – Federal Trade Commission (FTC) & Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

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.
    • 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/
    • 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:

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

Mario Lotmore has 1080 posts and counting. See all posts by Mario Lotmore

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