As our Chinese virus-generated economic collapse continues, helping to move that process along, the Secret Service is investigating a complex Nigerian fraud scheme to rip us off using the unemployment assistance meant for Americans who have lost their jobs.
Several states have been hit so far by the “sophisticated” attack, but authorities believe the hit will become more widespread.
Nigerian fraudsters have played a major role on the pages of ‘Frauds and Crooks.’ See my Nigeria tag!
From the New York Times:
Feds Suspect Vast Fraud Network Is Targeting U.S. Unemployment Systems
SEATTLE — A group of international fraudsters appears to have mounted an immense, sophisticated attack on U.S. unemployment systems, creating a network that has already siphoned millions of dollars in payments that were intended to avert an economic collapse, according to federal authorities.
The attackers have used detailed information about U.S. citizens, such as social security numbers that may have been obtained from cyber hacks of years past, to file claims on behalf of people who have not been laid off, officials said. The attack has exploited state unemployment systems at a time when they are straining to process a crush of claims from an employment crisis unmatched since the Great Depression.
With many states rushing to pay claims, payments have gone straight to direct-deposit accounts. In Washington State, the agency tasked with managing unemployment claims there began realizing the extent of the problem in recent days when still-employed people called to question why they had received confirmation paperwork in the mail.
“This is a gut punch,” said Suzi LeVine, the commissioner of Washington State’s Employment Security Department.
In a memo obtained by The New York Times, investigators from the U.S. Secret Service said they had information suggesting that the scheme was coming from a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring and could result in “potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” Roy Dotson, a special agent who specializes in financial fraud at the Secret Service, said in an interview investigators were still working to pinpoint who was involved and exactly where they were.
Mr. Dotson said it appeared the fraud was being aided by a substantial number of “mules” — people, often in the United States, who were used as intermediaries for money laundering after making connections with fraudsters online. He warned people to be wary of quick-money job offers or other suspicious financial arrangements.
The Secret Service memo said Washington State had emerged as the primary target thus far, but there was also evidence of attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming. The agency warned that every state was vulnerable and could be targeted, noting that the attackers appeared to have extensive records of personally identifiable information, or P.I.I.
Ms. LeVine said she did not want to put a number on the losses so far in Washington State but believed it was in the millions of dollars.
One more reason that the Trump Administration should be praised for making it harder for Nigerians to get into the US!