Huge Washington unemployment fraud warning to other states

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state’s race to help newly laid-off residents as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the economy left it vulnerable to fraud. Last week officials hinted at the scope of the damage done: hundreds of millions of dollars paid out in fake claims. Much of it apparently went to a West African fraud ring using identities stolen in prior data breaches, such as the massive 2017 Equifax breach. Authorities have tried to claw back as much money as possible and blocked hundreds of millions more from being paid, but Washington’s experience is nevertheless a cautionary tale. By late last week, attacks had been detected in at least nine states.