City Manager’s Weekly Report
for week ending May 15, 2020
COVID-19 Case Count. The current COVID-19 Homeland Security/Department of Health case count in Normandy Park is 12 cases and no deaths. This status has been stable throughout the previous week.
COVID-19 Business Recovery. A third round of business recovery information will be going out to businesses before the end of the month. This is anticipated to be the last business packet, but outreach and recovery efforts will continue through other modes and in coordination with the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.
Unemployment Fraud. Numerous cities have received fraudulent unemployment benefit claims this week that are being filed using the identity of current employees. We are just now learning that these fraudulent claims are being filed by a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The primary state targeted so far is Washington, while there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida. The City of Normandy Park does not appear to have experienced any type of data breach and it’s unknown where or how this ring acquired thousands of individuals’ personal information. The State of Washington has announced that it is suspending unemployment payments for the next several days as State investigators assess this issue.
If you receive information in the mail from the Employment Security Department regarding an unemployment benefit claim that you did not file, you are advised to go to www.esd.wa.gov/fraud and report it immediately using the instructions on that page. City staff are closely monitoring unemployment claims as they arrive and will notify any employee who we believe may be the victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim. If your information has not already been used to file a fraudulent claim, you may be able to take a preventive approach to stop your social security number from being used in this manner and it will only take a few minutes of your time.
- Use this link, https://secure.esd.wa.gov/home/SAWUserRegistration/SignUp, to go to the Washington State Employment Security Department webpage to create a user account using your personal email address. After creating an account, ESD will send an email to verify your email address. Using the link in the email will bring you back to the website. At that point, you will insert your social security number and associate it with the account with your email address. This will not initiate an unemployment claim, but it will associate your social security number with the secure username and password that you use to set up the account.
- Once your social security number is associated with the account you just created, it cannot be associated with another fraudulent account. This will prevent anyone else from using your name and social security number to set up a fraudulent account and to associate it with a different email address in the future.
- You may receive an error message stating “The Social Security number (SSN) you entered already exists and is linked to this partly hidden email address: xxx@xxx.”. If you do not recognize the email address, contact the Employment Security Department at www.esd.wa.gov/fraud to have them close the existing account. Due to extremely high call volume, email is currently the preferred method of communication.
Community Development Software. Permitting software research has narrowed down the options to SmartGov and PermitTrax, both financially feasible options. These software systems will be providing virtual demos in the coming weeks.
Mark E. Hoppen, City Manager
City of Normandy Park
801 SW 174th Street
Normandy Park, WA 98166
(206) 248-8246 (Direct Phone)