May 18, 2020 - Technology

Nigerian scam targets unemployment checks with stolen personal information

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The Secret Service warns that an organized scam ring from Nigeria has been using stolen personal information to apply for unemployment benefits in various states, Krebs on Security reported over the weekend.

Why it matters: States were already struggling with a deluge of claims and trying to speed up the process. Defending against scammers could prompt governments to instill stricter security measures, potentially delaying payment to the millions who have recently lost their jobs.

What's happening: The Secret Service memo was circulated last week, per Krebs, and warns that the scammers appear to have a large database of personal information they are using to apply for benefits.

  • Washington State has been the biggest target, with claims also apparently submitted in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida.
  • The scheme is similar to another, already prevalent attack, in which scammers use stolen Social Security numbers to file fraudulent federal income tax returns and collect other people's refunds.

Go deeper: Another 3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week

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