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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2006
Consumer Alert: Phony Caller Claims to be with Employment Security


OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned Washington residents about a scam in which a con claimed to work for the state Employment Security Department.

A Tri-Cities resident received a call from an unknown man who claimed to work for the state Employment Security Department and was offering a new service to “protect your confidential information.” The woman who received the call coincidentally is a former employee of Employment Security. She said she not heard of such a program and intended to call the department to verify that such a program exists. At that point, the caller hung up. An attempt to trace the call resulted in a generic voice mail greeting.

McKenna and Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee said the call was not authorized by state government and that Employment Security does not offer any sort of special service such as that described by the phony caller.

“Cons frequently claim to work in an official capacity to trick consumers into divulging personal information that can be used to steal someone’s identity or commit other types of fraud,” McKenna said. “Washington state agencies will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account or other personal information in an unsolicited phone call. Fortunately, the target of this scam sensed something fishy and didn’t take the bait.”

Washington residents who receive calls asking for personal information are advised to hang up. Consumers who believe they may be a victim of fraud can contact the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division at (800) 551-4636 or file a complaint online at www.atg.wa.gov.

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Media Contacts:

Kristin Alexander, Public Information Officer, Attorney General’s Office, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

Sheryl Hutchison, Communications Director, Employment Security Department, (360) 902-9289, shutchison@esd.wa.gov

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