Sgt. Teresa Fuller
Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 10:55 p.m.
Everyone is trying to make the best of the current situation due to the Coronavirus pandemic; unfortunately, that includes scammers and fraudsters. There has been a recent surge in identity theft reports involving unemployment claims; 18 reports of such fraudulent claims in the city limits today alone, with another 32 in Spokane County. If you’ve been a victim of unemployment fraud, please call Crime Check at 509-456-2233 to file a report.
Local law enforcement has noticed an uptick in reports of fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits. With so many people left jobless in these unprecedented times, scammers have taken full advantage of the extraordinary demand on the unemployment system. Using names and social security numbers of unsuspecting victims, the scammers typically target mid-management type employees who have been with their employer for a number of years.
For employers, employees, and those working in Human Resource Departments; please have your employees, even those currently in layoff status and eligible to receive benefits, double check to ensure their contact information is up to date and accurate.
For employees notified by their HR departments or by the Employment Security Department of Washington State a claim was fraudulently made for unemployment by someone else:
-Call Crime Check at 509-456-2233 to report the fraud.
-Go to https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud to learn about additional steps you should take to help protect your identity.
-Check in with the three credit bureaus https://www.equifax.com/personal/ , https://www.experian.com/ , and https://www.transunion.com/ to ensure your information hasn’t been compromised in other ways. You can also place credit freezes or alerts on your identity at each of those sites.
If you’ve been the victim of any other COVID related scam, please call and report that as well. You may also find resources in the following link: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edwa/pr/united-states-attorney-william-d-hyslop-releases-public-service-announcement-regarding .
We are all continuing to work together in our community to reopen Spokane, showing we are #InlandStrong. You can also assist by reporting crime and suspicious activity; this helps us hold criminals accountable for their actions during a time when so many are particularly vulnerable.
Officer John O'Brien