Unemployment Claim Fraud Discovered

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwet - Where it's green. And wet.' started by Sabre, May 22, 2020.

  1. Sabre

    Sabre Prêt? Allez! Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,115
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    I saw a piece on the Seattle news about this last night. Per the Washington Employment Security Department, "hundreds of millions of dollars" in fraudulent unemployment claims have been made during the Covid-19 emergency. It's especially bad in Washington because our state was expediting payments for affected workers. Per the news report, this is a BIG problem being run by large criminal organizations, not just local yokels trying to take advantage.

    Several co-workers and my ex reported that this had happened to them, so I checked my file. Yup, some bastard has used my SSN to apply for benefits. :bluduh I called my credit union and placed a fraud alert on my account, then contacted the credit bureau and did the same (contacting one of the big three will automatically apply the alert at all three credit bureaus).

    If you're in Washington, it's easy to log in to the Employment Security Department using your Secure Access Washington account, which is used by a variety of state agencies. I have one to maintain my vehicle registrations and professional license. Otherwise it'll take a phone call I suppose....
    #1
  2. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,243
    Location:
    wren-tonne, WA
    Friggen Nigerians.. sorry to hear - what a hassle.. hope you recover soon. when you say you checked your file, do you mean in ESD? was it flagged or something?
    #2
  3. Sabre

    Sabre Prêt? Allez! Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,115
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    Nope, it wasn't flagged. I just logged in to ESD through the SAW portal just because more and more co-workers are reporting it, and the news item last night triggered me to check. You can check "status of your claim" or something like that. It showed that my SSN was associated with a claim that was tied to some unknown email address...something like "a********444@yopmail.com." From there they have an easy-to-use means of reporting the fraud.
    #3
  4. acesandeights

    acesandeights Noob

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,922
    Location:
    So. Oregon
    It's been used by criminal organizations for as long as we've had assistance programs. Now it's as bad as ever.
    #4
    No-Fret likes this.
  5. robdogg

    robdogg turnip truck driver Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,243
    Location:
    wren-tonne, WA
    ah.. jeez louise
    #5
  6. Need For Speed

    Need For Speed Is that a cop?????

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Pacific North Wet
    Ok, I just looked and seem to be in the clear.

    Thanks for the heads up, been hearing about this A LOT in the last few days from coworkers and family.
    #6
  7. Twempie

    Twempie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    262
    Location:
    West Seattle
    Also, file a police report, then notify your insurance company (and spouses insurance if you’re on any of their vehicles) once you get a case number. It’s also recommended to freeze your credit for a while - doing so means you can’t apply for loans, but can still use credit cards.

    Good luck.
    #7
    Trinity_Session and Watercat like this.
  8. PaulBarton

    PaulBarton Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,122
    Location:
    Seattle
    Yep. This is pretty ridiculous.

    I’m self-employed but now qualify for expanded unemployment benefits. I tried to file two weeks ago and when it tried to verify my identity it told me my SSN was associated with another email. They show a partial email with domain name. The domain was from a company that sells encrypted email addresses. I immediately sent an email to the fraud Dept and called the fraud line. After sitting on hold for 90 minutes I opted to leave a vm. No response for a week. My wife gets a letter in the mail discussing her claim (she shouldn’t have a claim) and we check her SSN and sure enough same thing. She tries to call and now you can’t even wait on hold or leave a vm. I send an email with all the info they requested and no response. The following Monday it is national news and ESD sets up a new form you have to submit electronically. We fill the form out. We call the hotline and all they do is tell you to submit the form and wait. Maybe 2 weeks. If you need financial assistance while you wait they can provide you a third party offering temporary loans/assistance until your claim is processed.

    meanwhile I can’t even submit my claim until the fraud gets addressed. As a self-employed person I have to submit a normal claim and wait for it to be “most likely declined” until I can file for the expanded benefits. Meanwhile the funds that should be going to citizens like me are going to Nigeria by the millions.

    My SSN and credit info was already on alert. For this one they haven’t tried to compromise the SSN for anything other than the unemployment claims (so it doesn’t trigger the fraud alert with the credit agencies). Many wouldn’t even know until they try to file a claim.
    #8
  9. Mofrid

    Mofrid Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    328
    Location:
    State of Jefferson
    Oregon is so messed up and behind ($86 Million planned since 2009 for updates, $'s still sitting in the state coffers and unemployed going without benefits)
    ... Can it be a silver lining?? I'm always hoping!!
    #9
  10. Sabre

    Sabre Prêt? Allez! Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,115
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    I've texted all my hospital coworkers that I have in my contact list and a half dozen have already responded that they were hit, too.

    @PaulBarton: Absolutely correct in that using the SSN for an unemployment claim doesn't trigger anything with the credit bureau. So unless you try to file your own (legit) claim, or get a letter like your missus did, most folks won't even know it's happened.

    The really scary part is that our SSN's are out there somewhere, being bought and sold by nefarious actors after various data breaches have occurred.
    #10
  11. tony the tiger

    tony the tiger Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    13,399
    Location:
    secret owner of a Parmesan cheese factory
    Dark web - so many ways PII/PHI gets exploited it's pitiful.
    #11
    Trinity_Session likes this.
  12. Ride365

    Ride365 #DirtLivesMatter

    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    217
    Location:
    La Center - Highlands
    Thanks for posting this!

    I just checked and someone filed a fraudulent claim using my SSN.

    Fraud report filed.
    #12
  13. tomasv

    tomasv Check the Czech!

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,291
    Location:
    Seattle area
    No, do not freeze the credit temporarily but PERMANENTLY. It's a bit of a hassle to temporarily unfreeze when applying for a new credit card/buying a house etc. but that does not happen that often. I know a lot about the dark web and SSN/CC trading scumbag schemes as we are trying to prevent some of that. With all of the leaks I would estimate about 70% of all US issued SSSN are out there...

    I froze my credit, my wife's and even my 5 and 7 years old's 4 years ago when this shit started to be way too common. Now it's free - no reason not to do it!

    And do it now!
    #13
  14. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,018
    Location:
    Tacoma - ish, WA
    Freezing your credit is a good idea to prevent identity theft, but you need to lift the freeze once a year when your homeowners, auto and motorcycle insurance policies are up for renewal. All the companies use credit reports for rate setting. I learned this the hard way. Despite having a 800+ credit rating, my insurance went up by 30% last year because my insurance company got a "no hit" when they tried to run my credit.

    Could not get it fixed either because in this state (WA) the Dept of Insurance (in their effort to protect consumers) only lets an insurance carrier request the report one time per year. It's a bit of a mess really. You need to coordinate with your insurance carrier to make sure your credit is unfrozen when they do the renewal rating. And, since they mostly can't tell you which credit bureau they use, you have to unfreeze all three. And don't forget to unfreeze your spouse's report too if they are also on your policy.
    #14
  15. tomasv

    tomasv Check the Czech!

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,291
    Location:
    Seattle area
    I made that much simpler - the insurance has no right to pull the credit report without your approval. Therefore the agent always calls/emails me - hey your insurance is coming up, do you want to renew and if yes can we pull the report? Gives me a chance to shop around and unfreeze the credit before giving them the OK...
    #15
    tony the tiger likes this.
  16. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,018
    Location:
    Tacoma - ish, WA
    OK, but, if you have good or excellent credit, and you shop around while your credit reports are frozen, the quotes you get will be higher than if you shop around while your credit reports are unfrozen.

    #16
  17. tomasv

    tomasv Check the Czech!

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,291
    Location:
    Seattle area
    Not necessarily, I learn to ask for a quote assuming a certain credit score - same when I was applying for a home mortgage. Ask 5 companies for a quote, provide my credit, select a company, unfreeze and tell them to run it. The agents are now very used to doing this.
    #17
    tony the tiger likes this.
  18. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,018
    Location:
    Tacoma - ish, WA
    Really? That's a great idea. I hope lots of inmates see this thread. Could save some real money. In my case, my renewal premium (homeowners, auto and umbrella) with unfrozen credit was $1600 cheaper than with frozen credit. So we're not talking about just a few bucks here.

    Anyway, maybe we should get back to Sabre's original topic. Yesterday, I went online and checked and there were NO claims filed in my name. I didn't expect to see any - I've been retired for 10 years! :D
    #18
    tony the tiger likes this.
  19. Sabre

    Sabre Prêt? Allez! Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,115
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    Update: Received in today's mail a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue!

    Dear Sabre,
    Your claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was filed on May 18, 2020...you meet the monetary eligibility requirements to establish a claim for benefits....

    Jeebus freakin' christmas, this could just be the tip of the iceberg. :baldy
    #19
  20. Need For Speed

    Need For Speed Is that a cop?????

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Pacific North Wet
    Was talking to my ex today - she had a fraudulent claim filed under her social, as well as some of my co-workers and their friends have been hit.

    I think you are right about this being the tip of the iceberg...
    #20