“Massive Fraud” Against State Unemployment Programs Warned
On March 9, the Secret Service warned of opportunistic phishing scams taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting fear and uncertainty. Included with the "information only" alert were the following quick tips:
Phishing Emails / Social Engineering – Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from senders you do not recognize. These attachments can contain malicious content, such as ransomware, that can infect your device and steal your information. Be leery of emails or phone calls requesting account information or requesting you to verify your account. Legitimate businesses will never call you or email you directly for this information.
Always independently verify any requested information originates from a legitimate source.
Visit websites by inputting the domain name yourself. Business use encryption, Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Certificate “errors” can be a warning sign that something is not right with the website.
Last week, the Secret Service warned of a sophisticated Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the crisis and resulting high volumes of claims to defraud unemployment systems in Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida. Using stolen personal information (likely from a significant database) from first responders and government employees, ACH deposits are being made into accounts unrelated to the benefit recipients.likely for redirection elsewhere at another time. Losses are projected into the hundreds of millions of dollars and banks of all sizes have been targeted.