The Snoqualmie Police Department is warning North Bend and Snoqualmie residents about a surge of fraud reports related to unemployment claims and coronavirus stimulus checks.
SPD said during the past week it had received more than 60 reports of fraud involving stolen identities, intercepted [CARES act] stimulus checks, unemployment benefits claims in the name of someone still employed, and credit report breaches.
“This is the worst possible time for people to have to deal with stolen identities,” said Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps. “We ask that everyone make every effort immediately to protect your identification documents, accounts, and passwords.”
One of the apparent targets was the Snoqualmie Valley School District. In a May 13th interview with King 5 News, SVSD Human Resources Executive Director Beth Porter said since last Thursday she’s had to call on over 100 unemployment claims for employees after receiving one a couple of weeks earlier for an administrator she knew was still working. [The school district is still receiving funding from the state, which has helped maintain its payroll during the COVID-19 crisis.]
One of those fraudulent claims involved School Board President Carolyn Simpson, who was notified by Porter earlier this week that a claim had been filed in her name – even though Simpson is paid very little ($50 per meeting) for her school board role.
She completed a fraud report for the Employment Security Department and is also planning to file a report with the Snoqualmie Police Department today.
Simpson commented, “From the victim’s perspective, it is maddening and time consuming. From the district’s perspective, we are concentrating on so many other important education needs right now, we don’t need this. I hope the perpetrators are found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law for this egregious behavior.”
Snoqualmie Valley residents and businesses are asked to watch their financial institution accounts closely. Watch for fraudulent mail from organizations you don’t usually get mail from. Don’t overlook junk mail. Open all mail to be sure no fraudulent actions are being taken.
If you experience fraud, you’re asked to call the Snoqualmie Police Department at 425-888-3333 to file a report.
- Employee Security Department Unemployment Benefits Fraud: 800-246-9763
- Social Security Fraud: 1-800-269-0271
- Federal Trade Commission Stimulus Payment Scams
- How to Place a Fraud Alert with the Federal Trade Commission
- IdentityTheft.gov through the Federal Trade Commission
- Credit Freeze FAQ from the Federal Trade Commission