According to the U.S. Secret Service, Washington state has emerged as the primary target in the massive unemployment fraud being perpetuated by a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring. Attacks are also occurring in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.
According to San Juan County Sheriff Ron Krebs, the Secret Service is still working to pinpoint who is involved and exactly where they are.
The fraud is being aided by mules in the U.S. who are being used as intermediaries for money laundering after making connections with the fraudsters online. This scheme appears to be fairly sophisticated and the amount of dollars lost in Washington State so far is in the millions. As an example, Western Washington University has had more than 400 out of about 2,500 total employees targeted.
The state hotline has been inundated with calls so they’ve hired additional help to answer the phones. They continue to request that victims report their circumstance online. https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud