Press Release

Data breach exposes 1.6 million Washington state residents who filed unemployment claims in 2020 – GeekWire

The Office of the Washington State Auditor is investigating a security incident which has compromised the personal information of more than 1.6 million people who filed for unemployment claims in the state in 2020.

State Auditor Pat McCarthy’s office blamed the breach on a third party software provider named Accellion, whose services are used to transmit computer files.

The Seattle Times noted that the compromised data had been collected as part of the auditor’s investigation into how the state Employment Security Department (ESD) lost $600 million to fraudulent unemployment claims.

According to SAO, data affected may have included:Personal information of people who filed for unemployment claims from Jan. 1 to Dec. 10, 2020. In addition to members of the general public, this group includes many state employees, as well as people whose identity was used to file for claims fraudulently in early 2020. SAO was reviewing all claims data as part of an audit of that fraud incident. The data involves about 1.6 million claims and included the person’s name, social security number and/or driver’s license or state identification number, bank information, and place of employment.

SAO said it is working closely with state cybersecurity officials, law enforcement, the Employment Security Department, the Department of Children, Youth and Families, and legal counsel.

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