Well, it’s finally happened. Some enterprising twat has used my identity to do something naughty and it’s causing no small amount of consternation.
Like many in Washington, my information was used to file a false unemployment claim. Some pseudo-human got hold of my social security number and my email, went to the ESD, and said they were me and that I was unemployed and “I can haz money now?” I heard about this from my employer, who wanted to know if I really had filed for unemployment, while still employed.
- Of course I couldn’t concentrate on anything after reading that email.
- Of course I went and put a credit freeze with all three bureaus.
- Of course I changed all my passwords.
- Of course I filed this as a fraudulent claim with the ESD.
There’s a couple more things I didn’t realize I should do (that I have since done):
- I have filed a police report (this can be done online!).
- I’ve documented it with the FTC.
Going through all of this is a hassle of course, and on top of other things right now it’s quite unwelcome. Here’s the thing: I have resources, and time, and a really great employer who identified it and let me know it was happening, along with specific guidance on what to do next. Given the size of this fraud (there’s thousands of fraudulent claims for state of WA right now) there are literally thousands of people dealing with this, and not all have time to deal with it or guidance to deal with it. So, if you or someone you know has discovered some sort of identity fraud, here’s some links and things to do:
- Put a credit freeze (free to do, and can be done online) on your credit with Equifax(yes, that Equifax), Experian, and TransUnion.
- File a fraudulent claim with the entity that was defrauded (in my case, it was the Washington state employment office– and it was filed online)
- File a police report (also online, non-emergency).
- Document it (online!) with the FTC.
- Call (or email, or go online) your banks and let them know, so they can guard on their end.
- Change all your passwords and/or your password algorithm.
Will this make you bulletproof to future fraud? No — shit can still happen. (Murphy’s Law is a law for a reason). No sense in making it easier for the assholes that do this.