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Be Aware of Fraudulent Unemployment Claims

Posted May 15, 2020 03:30 PM
As we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdowns, please be alert to fraudulent unemployment claims being filed using your name or the names of your staff members.

If you receive a notice for a claim of one of your employees who is currently employed, notify the Employment Security Department by emailing so that your organization does not get charged for a false claim.

Even though the ESD has safeguards in place to ensure benefits don’t go to the wrong people, it is important to report fraudulent claims immediately. ESD's fraud website outlines the reporting process. Read this Seattle Times article to learn more.

If for any reason you receive paperwork from ESD stating you (or a colleague) have applied for unemployment benefits and you have not, please follow these steps:

  1. Contact your HR representative immediately
  2. Contact Washington State Employment Security Department to report the fraud
  3. Report the fraudulent activity to the three major credit bureaus (details below under the section on obtaining a credit report)
  4. File a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission
  5. Keep notes so you have a paper trail you can reference
  6. File an online, non-emergency police report with the agency whose jurisdiction you live in

Our recommendations

Establish an account at ESD

You can help protect yourself by setting up a login under your identity and email through ESD to help prevent another person from claiming under your ID with fake information.

We have found that those who are affected by this scam see an error message pop-up, so if you encounter this issue please take action right away:

Obtain a free credit report

Due to the pandemic, the three major credit bureaus are offering free weekly credit reports, which you can obtain at

If you are ever concerned that your identity was used improperly, you can put a fraud alert in with any of the three credit bureaus, and they will share the fraud alert with the other agencies. A fraud alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. You can file a fraud alert online or contact one of the bureaus directly. Keep any reports you obtain on file and provide them to your HR representative (or staff member).


888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)


You may also wish to consider the FTC's guidance about a credit freeze, particularly if you do not have upcoming large purchases or a change in banking needs coming up.

Consider setting up an IRS account

Similar to the guidance about setting up an ESD account, you can help protect your identity by creating an account with your social security number with the IRS if you don't already have one. They also offer the option to lock your social security number if you have been the victim of fraud.