May 28, 2020 -
The United States Secret Service has received reporting of a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The primary state targeted so far is Washington, while there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida. It is extremely likely every state is vulnerable to this scheme and will be targeted if they have not been already.
In the state of Washington, individuals residing out-of-state are receiving multiple ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefit Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder. A substantial amount of the fraudulent benefits submitted have used Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from first responders, government personnel, and school employees. It is assumed the fraud ring behind this possesses a substantial PII database to submit the volume of applications observed thus far.
Vermont Federal is monitoring for this activity and will reach out to account holders as quickly as possible if this activity is detected.
If an account holder receives a deposit they weren’t expecting, it is very important that they don’t spend the money and notify their financial institution immediately.
Vermont Federal recommends that people use online or mobile banking to review their account transaction history on a daily basis in order to quickly identify any unauthorized transactions.
During this unprecedented time, the safety and well-being of our staff, members and community remain our number one priority. We are here to help. If you have any questions about this alert, best security practices, or any other topic, please contact us at (888) 252-0202.