A group of international fraudsters have been allegedly attacking United States unemployment systems.
The New York Post reported that the Nigerian fraud network has allegedly taken millions of dollars in unemployment benefits. These funds have been helping millions of people who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 global outbreak.
The Nigerian 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. The fraudsters have used this information to file claims on behalf of people who have not been laid off.
Federal authorities believe most of the fraudulent claims have been filed in the state of Washington. A Secret Service memo reported that evidence suggests attacks were also found in Wyoming, Florida, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts.
The ring could end up stealing “hundreds of millions of dollars” from state unemployment departments. These departments have been overwhelmed by many Americans looking to file for unemployment benefits after economies shut down.
Roy Dotson, a special agent at the Secret Service, said officials are still trying to figure out who was behind the attacks and exactly where they are doing this.
”We are actively running down every lead we are getting,” Dotson said.
Investigators believe this scheme is located in the United States and participants are likely involved as “mules” for the operation.
Officials are afraid that the attackers have stacks of personal information, making them able to carry out this attack on state unemployment systems.
The labor department in Rhode Island has noticed suspicious claims. Meanwhile, in Washington, officials have been bombarded with calls from people who say unemployment notifications have been sent to them even though they never made a claim.
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