A number of faculty and staff have had unemployment claims filed in their name. It is important for everyone to check your unemployment account to assure no claims have been filed.

If this happens to you, UW HR has updated their unemployment page with information regarding the fraud and actions to take.

Note: Due to extremely high volumes of reports, the Washington State Unemployment group has moved from e-mail reporting to an online database form.

To find out if someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment in your name, you can go to the Employee Security Department website, and go through the initial registration steps as if you plan to file for unemployment.  Assuming you have never filed before, and if someone fraudulently filed in your name, then you will get a warning that the SSN you entered already exists in the system.

Quick Guide:

  1. File a police report – Identify Theft
  2. Go online to Employment security department – you will never get through if you try to call. Email: esdfraud@esd.wa.gov.
  3. Freeze or put a fraud alert on your credit; freeze is free and you freeze/unfreeze for specific creditors
    • Equifax: 800-525-6285; www.equifax.com
    • Experian: 888-397-3742; www.experian.com
    • TransUnion:  800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
  4. Go to IDTheft.gov to report to the feds
  5. Notify your bank

Detailed Guide:

  1. Contact the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) via their online form. You’ll need the following information handy so they can verify your identity:
    • The last four digits of your social security number.
    • Your date of birth.
    • Your address.
    • Your current phone number.
    • Information on how you learned a claim was filed on your behalf.
  2. File an online or nonemergency police report with the law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction you live in. If you live in Seattle, you can file an online report here. A tip from Seattle police: “Some government services and accommodations are available to victims of identity theft that are not available to the general public, such as getting certain public records sealed.”
  3. Contact the three major credit bureaus: Experian (1-888-397-3742), TransUnion (1-800-680-7289) and Equifax (1 800 525 6285). 
    • Get free credit reports by visiting annualcreditreport.com or calling 1-877-322-8228. Check your credit activity at least once a year. As a victim of identity theft, you have the right to check it monthly if you choose.
    • Tell the credit bureaus a fraudulent unemployment claim was made using your identity. Give them the case number from your police report.
    • Have one of the credit bureaus place a fraud alert on your identity. If you don’t have an upcoming major purchase, such as a home, consider freezing your credit. These services are free, and both make it harder for someone to open new accounts.