As many of you unfortunately are aware, a scam involving fraudulent unemployment claims is running rampant through Washington State. This scam has already impacted over a hundred of our Ferndale School District employees. Our Human Resources Department is reaching out to those employees who have been impacted to help them resolve the situation. And, of course, law enforcement is involved at the state and federal levels.
Because awareness of this scam could be important for everyone, I want to share a bit of additional information with our community.
A fraudulent filing indicates that an unknown third party likely has access to one or more elements of someone’s personal information (name, employer, social security number, etc.). As the current situation proves, this information in the wrong hands can be used for purposes of identity theft. Anyone who suspects they have been subject to identity theft should contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies for further assistance. They are as follows:
One of the ways that this fraud is happening is through State of Washington, Secure Access Washington (SAW) accounts. If you have a SAW account, you can check to see if your account is secure by following these steps:
1. Navigate to https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/
2. Login with your SAW information. Many state functions including license renewal use these accounts, so it is very likely you are already registered.
3. Once you’re in, follow the links to apply for unemployment. You’re not actually going to apply. The first step is identity verification. Fill out the requested information.
4. This is where you should pay special attention. If your information is tied to an email address that is not yours, you may be a victim of fraud.
5. If you find that you are the victim of fraud, go to ESD’s fraud page and report it.
Unemployment benefits fraud
**Many thanks to Ferndale resident Sara O’Connor for sharing the information provided in these steps**
Additional resources are available at this link:
Recovering identity theft or fraud