The US Secret Service has warned that an international syndicate specializing in fraud is back in its slimy game, attacking the US unemployment system and siphoning off millions of dollars in payments that were intended to avert an economic collapse, Mike Baker of The New York Times wrote in his May 17, 2020 article.

Believed to be masterminded by Nigerians, the syndicate have used detailed information about US 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.

Baker said the attack has exploited state unemployment systems at a time when they are straining to process a crush of claims from an unemployment crisis unmatched since the Great Depression that started in 1929, with 34 million people filing for unemployment benefits. 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.

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. #coronavirusimpact #COVID19

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