'It's such a violation': How crooks are slowing down unemployment checks

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Since COVID-19 began, the economic impact has been devastating. More than half a million people in our state have filed new unemployment claims. Many of them are waiting for that check just so they can survive.

Officials say crooks are a big reason for the agonizing delay in getting people money when they need it most. The reason: unemployment fraud.

 "It happened to our organization and I can imagine it's happening to any company."

ESD says there are some ways to prevent it from happening to you. Some of the simplest tips are leaving your social security card at home and not oversharing on social media.

They also suggest that before giving out your personal identifiable information to a caller or business, ask them why they need it and what they'll do to safeguard it. And as always, keep your personal information, wherever you store it, as safe as possible. 

Brenne says the lesson she and her non-profit have learned from this is to be extra vigilant and to continue checking the mail regularly that's sent to your business. She says this ordeal has caused a huge interruption to the crucial work the nonprofit does, and hopes this doesn't happen to others in the community.

"It's kind of disappointing really -- it's kind of depressing that people would prey on an opportunity like this to take advantage and steal somebody's good name."