Washington’s unemployment system sees spike in impostors during virus pandemic

5ebe336d9a7ea imageWow, who would have thought that people would game the system! 

State officials say payments will be held off for as many as two days in order to verify claims; jobless claims continue to rise in Washington, Idaho

OLYMPIA — Because of an increase in attempted “impostor fraud” applications for weekly unemployment benefits during the ongoing coranavirus pandemic, officials in Washington said Thursday they will be holding all payments for as much as two days this week while they take additional steps to verify claims.

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said that there have been no data breaches at the agency, but she said that the recent fraud attempts are cases where someone’s personal information has been previously stolen from other sources — like during the 2017 Equifax breach — and is now being used to filed for benefits.

She said that Washington’s high weekly maximum benefit of as much as $790 per week, in addition to the extra weekly $600 from the federal economic package, are among the reasons the system is “an attractive target for fraudsters.”

“Impostor fraud is not new and it is not unique,” she said. “What’s new is the scale, and that is profound.”


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