It is being reported that the Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO) is investigating a security incident, allegedly caused by a third-party vendor, that may have compromised the personal information of up to 1.6 million residents of the state of Washington who filed unemployment claims in 2020.

The SAO is investigating fraudulent unemployment claims filed in Washington in 2020 that reportedly cost the state up to $600 million. In completing the audit, the state utilized a third-party vendor, Accellion, to transmit computer files for the investigation.

According to the SAO, “during the week of January 25, 2021, Accellion confirmed that an unauthorized person gained access to SAO files by exploiting a vulnerability in Accellion’s file transfer service.” The SAO posted on its website that the unauthorized person “was able to exploit a software vulnerability in Accellion’s file transfer service and gain access to files that were being transferred using Accellion’s service,” which occurred in December 2020.

Data that may have been affected includes 1.6 million individuals’ claims made between January 1, 2020 and December 10, 2020, including claims made by state employees. The compromised information includes individuals’ names, Social Security numbers and/or drivers’ license or state ID numbers, bank information and place of employment. In addition, the personal information of some individuals whose information was held by the Department of Children, Youth and Families was also compromised.

What a terrible consequence for those who legitimately lost their job and filed for unemployment benefits. For those whose personal information was used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim, this news throws a massive amount of salt in the wound of being the victim of identity theft.