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Washington State Unemployment Claims Security Breach

February 17, 2021

Following a data breach at the Washington State Auditor’s Office, we want to share how you can best protect yourself from identity fraud, and what steps you can take if you believe you have been impacted.

Here’s the situation: The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) recently announced that one of their third-party providers experienced a security breach on December 25, 2020. This may have exposed the personal information of over 1.6 million Washingtonians who filed unemployment claims, including name, social security number, driver’s license, and/or banking information. If you filed an unemployment claim in Washington State between January 1, 2020, and December 10, 2020, your information may have been exposed. The Auditor’s Office will contact those who were affected, but you can visit their website here to learn about the incident, what you can do to protect your data, and about next steps.

Protecting your personal data today:

  • Monitor your daily transactions with Columbia CU Online and/or Mobile Banking. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
  • Set up alerts and notifications through Online Banking to automatically track and notify you of account balances and transactions. Log in to Online Banking, select Additional Services, then select Alerts & Notifications.
  • Reset your username, password, and security options within Online Banking to ensure only you can access your account information under My Settings. And remember, don’t share your login credentials with others.
  • Download the free CardValet app to allow you to turn your debit and credit cards on/off on the fly, set transaction limits, and select other restrictions to help keep your cards safe. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
  • Add your Columbia CU debit and credit cards to your phone’s mobile wallet to make contact-free in-store secure purchases.
  • Review your credit report for suspicious or unknown transactions from one of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Create a fraud alert or credit freeze on credit reports if you think your data might have been included in the compromise.
  • Be extremely cautious when clicking links in any texts or emails – especially if unsolicited. Make sure you know the source or, even better, go to the website in question directly and avoid the link all together. Find out more about text alerts we send and how to avoid text message fraud from scammers here.

To learn more about this incident and what the Washington State Auditor’s Office suggests you do, visit their website here.