The State of Washington has been the target of fraudulent applications for unemployment benefits. City and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating after an increase in fraud to obtain benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fraudulent unemployment claims cover many sectors of employment, but so far the authorities have been unable to identify a specific source. This problem at the state level may be linked to past abuses in large company systems (e.g. Premera, Target, Equifax), which have put 40 percent of Americans in the hands of hackers.
Many people who did not apply for unemployment benefits received a letter from the Washington State Labor Department or the Human Resources Department of their employer stating that the application for unemployment benefits was made on their behalf. These people are advised to contact the Washington State Department of State Security, file a police report and contact credit bureaus to report that a fraudulent claim has been made.