Clallam County's response to Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Clallam County's response to Coronavirus (Covid-19)
The COVID-19 outbreak has reduced incomes for many Washingtonians, leaving them unable to pay their rent. Commerce is seeking comments on all aspects of a new short-term and limited Eviction Rent Assistance Program. This draft program is intended to prevent evictions by paying past due and future rent, targeting limited resources to those with the greatest needs while working to distribute funds equitably.
Please provide us your best thinking and critiques and send comments no later than noon on Monday, July 13 to email@example.com.
You can review the program’s draft documents here.
Sequim Small Business Relief Fund (SSBRF)
In response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 virus, the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce has established the Sequim Small Business Relief Fund (SSBRF) to facilitate direct grants to impacted local businesses.
We are currently seeking DONORS toward this fund as well as GRANT APPLICANTS to benefit.
For full details on this Relief Fund, and to apply,
Each business or entity operating in Phase 3 of Safe Start Washington, must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19 that is at least as protective as the requirements from the Department of Labor & Industry. A business may fill out this template to fulfilll the requirement, or may develop its own Safety Plan. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency or County Public Health Department for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and must be made available to the Washington State regulatory agencies or local health or safety authorities in the event of an inspection. Businesses are still required to follow the State’s industry specific guidance, if issued for your specific industry.
AWB Launches Website to Help Washington Get Back to Business
The website, located at www.reboundandrecovery.org, features an online portal to connect Washington businesses with ‘Made in Washington’ manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols
Stay Alert of Potential Fraud
A local prominent business informed us that they had a $5,000 fraud draft against their payroll account Thursday. The account was only used for payroll and the only thing new that they use this account on was the PPP application. There was no liability to business and the bank caught it but we caution the community that these unusual times create a higher risk of susceptibility in regards for compromised information through the various methods.
The Washington State Attorney General has issued recent warnings on scammers looking to capitalize on COVID-19 instability. Unfortunately here at the City a number of staff have been identified as victims of unemployment fraud. Please pay special attention to your mail and email at work and at home. Often these targeted scams will send something that is easy to overlook. Other agencies have reported employees receiving what look like legitimate ESD benefit claimant letters in the mail. If you receive a fraudulent claim, do not respond or provide any personal information. Instead follow the recommended steps below.
If someone has made an unemployment claim in your name following these five Steps to Protect Your Financial Identity & Credit History
Step One – Notify your employer
Step Two – Contact WA State ESD
Either you or your employer needs to contact ESD.
If YOU are reporting the a fraudulent claim made in your name, email ESDGPInternalFraud@ESD.WA.GOV to report it.
Information to include in your email:
Please let ESD know: If an impostor-fraud claim was filed using your information, do you give us permission to deny and cancel it?
If your Employer is reporting the fraud on behalf of an employee:
Download the Benefit Fraud Employer Reporting Template
Enter the requested information for the affected employees
Email the completed template to ESDGPInternalFraud@ESD.WA.GOV
Step Three – The Three Major Credit Bureaus
Obtain your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228
b. Report to the credit bureaus that the fraudulent claim was made using your identity. You can have a fraud alert put on your identity or freeze your credit. A fraud alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two.
c. Check your credit activity at least once a year. As a victim of identity-theft you have the right to check it monthly if you choose.
d. Credit Freeze – If you do not have upcoming large purchases, such as a home, you may want to freeze your credit for more protection. It is free and you can do it yourself. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs
Step Four – FTC & IRS
a. File a short report with the FTC and consider contacting your local police department to file a non-emergency police report. Give the FTC the case number for your local police report https://www.identitytheft.gov/ (good info at www.ftc.gov/idtheft)
b. Consider setting up an IRS account at https://www.irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account. If you create an account with your social-security number it will prevent criminals from creating an account using your identity.
c. Another option is to lock your social-security number at https://www.e-verify.gov/employees (The next wave of this cyber-attack may be IRS tax fraud.)
d. All of this reporting seems redundant, but we want to make sure you are recognized as a victim by the local, state, and federal government. Also, the more people who report it, the more support Law Enforcement agents will get to pursue the perpetrators.
Step Five – Keep Notes
Hang on to any notes, copies of emails, etc. This is the paper trail that you can reference if you face any identity issues or locate inaccuracies on your credit history sometime in the future.
Protecting Your Data and Identity in the Future
Below are some steps and resources that the cyber-crime detectives recommend for anyone wanting additional protections for themselves and their families.
Control Your Own Information
Services that lock credit information can help, though you must provide companies with your own personal data, potentially creating more risk.
There are many sites that will walk you through securing your own data. You can google “how to do opt-outs and credit freeze” or use some of the third-party resources below. These are not associated with the City, but they are trusted resources that other victims have used successfully.
https://Inteltechniques.com/links.html The workbook linked on the right side of the page will walk you through a credit freeze and removing your data from data brokers and “stalker sites”. The “Privacy Checklist” is a printable guide for securing devices, accounts, and personal data. You don’t need to buy anything on this page, we just want to make use of their free guides.
https://ssd.eff.org/en The Electronic Frontier Foundation has several guides for privacy and security.
Most attackers use data obtained from previous internet breaches of hotel chains, entertainment services, and other widely-used digital productivity tools. That is why it is important to never use the same password twice. Get a password manager and use Multi-factor authentication: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-password-managers/
Use Multi-Factor Authentication (a secondary security code) on your most important accounts: https://authy.com/guides/
Most importantly, be vigilant and watch out for phishing emails, vishing fraud calls, and even things like mail/package theft, which can lead to your identity being compromised. Be wary of free apps/offers, which could be mining your data.
All jury trials are pushed back to July.
COVID-19 Help for Washington Website https://covid19helpwa.org/
United Way of Clallam County Relief Fund
Sign up for Coffee with Colleen at 8am each Wednesday to ask questions of Colleen and our Clallam County business Advisors –
Open to the first 100 participants
ScaleUp, COVID-19 Edition: Commerce has created ScaleUp to help small businesses navigate the current economic climate while building resiliency. One hundred businesses across the state will be able to register for the online classes. The virtual classroom will help owners improve their strategic thinking and decision-making, create operational efficiencies and strengthen the bottom line in times of uncertainty.
The ideal candidate for ScaleUp is the president/owner of a business that has been in operation for two years and has annual revenues in excess of $100,000. Registration for the free course opens Thursday, April 30 at 10 a.m.
Workers & Businesses: Learn more about important changes to employment law by subscribing to the Employment Security Updates: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/WAESD/signup/15249
Useful Article from McKinsey & Company on 'How to Rebuild and Reimagine Jobs Amid the Coronavirus Crisis'
Association of Washington Business Employer Resources Webinar Series
Online Learning for Business Reinvention
SOLIDWORKS - a design-to-manufacture business that offers CAD software, training and co-marketing resources to eligible entrepreneurs and startups at no cost. According to the website, SOLIDWORKS, sponsors early-stage hardware startups with less than $1M in funding, less than $1M in lifetime revenue, and selling their own physical product. SOLIDWORKS does not accept service companies or consultants. Find out more here.
Lynda.com - an online learning platform that provides video lessons to help people learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve professional and personal goals. Lynda.com was founded in 1995, acquired by Microsoft in 2016 and is now connected to LinkedIn Learning. Learn more here. Lynda.com offers a one-month free trial and is $25/month after that.
Reference USA and Demographics Now - Clients can make appointments with their local reference librarian to learn how to use the databases. If your local library does not have the subscriptions you need, try another library. If you have a card from your local public library, you will likely be able to access the resources of other public libraries. If you do not have a local library card, find out about getting an e-card so that you can start accessing materials immediately. Thank you, Jaime!!
Moody’s Analytics created a white paper this month titled “Reopening Main Street: What it will take to help small- and medium-sized businesses through 2020.” Read it here.
New Contact Tracing Initiative Announced
A trained team will conduct voluntary interviews to slow the spread of the virus.
The contact tracing program may be of special note to restaurants. Under Phase 2 guidance, restaurants that offer table service must maintain a daily log of customers, their check-in time, and their contact information to facilitate contact tracing. Review the Contact Tracing Announcement on the Governor Inslee’s Medium page.
Fraudulent Unemployment Claims On the Rise
The Employment Security Department (ESD) warns of fraudulent strategies that exploit the pandemic.
There are reports of a national surge in fraudulent unemployment claims. ESD’s Office of Special Investigations warns of a dramatic rise in imposter fraud in Washington State.
Imposter fraud includes false claims filed with stolen personal information. There are reports of fake websites designed to steal personal information. ESD does not request sensitive information outside of their official, secure website. Any site that requests confidential information should be treated with suspicion.
This malicious and criminal activity is harmful. Investigations of false claims slow processing of legitimate claims. ESD is rapidly scaling its anti-fraud efforts by securing data, hiring agents, and facilitating reporting.
A victim is not responsible to pay back benefits issued to a fraudster. ESD has a system to process benefits to individuals that file for unemployment after having been impersonated.
Victims of unemployment fraud should report to ESD:
Reporting Unemployment Benefits FraudVictims of identity theft should report to the IRS:
Guide to Employment-Related Identity Theft
ESD Commits to Operation 100%
The Employment Security Department (ESD) expands staff to tackle unprecedented claim volume, resolves to review all applications.
ESD has paid out over $2 billion in benefits to more than half a million Washingtonians since the crisis began. This money is feeding families and paying bills for many, but ESD acknowledges that 57,000 applicants are still waiting for their claims to be reviewed.
ESD’s objective is to provide relief to all eligible Washingtonians. The Department has launched Operation 100%, their plan to accelerate processing and quickly distribute benefits to those eligible.
The plan involves rapid hiring of staff, new technology, and triage of phone traffic. ESD’s top priority is to clear the backlog. ESD will also email another 187,000 eligible individuals that have tasks to complete before claims can be processed.
The objectives of Operation 100% are to substantially reduce the backlog by late May, and to have 100% of the backlog resolved or paid by mid-June. Washington can observe the progress of Operation 100% on ESD’s website.
CARES Act Funding to Support Local Governments
State Department of Commerce to distribute $300 Million in federal CARES Act funds to local governments.
Read the full news release on the Department of Commerce website
Colleen McAleer from Clallam County EDC updates us on what is happening next for Choose Clallam First
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