Deputies in the San Juan Islands responded to 261 calls from May 20-26, 2020. Deputies on Orcas Island responded to a report of someone being threatened with a weapon. After contacting the complainant, it became evident he/she was suffering from hallucinations. A Deputy investigated a theft complaint. A Lopez Island resident stated that an unidentified person came on to his property and stole a ladder rack that was bolted on to his vehicle. Numerous cases of fraud involving unemployment claims were reported.
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.
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. $300 million in fraudulent payments has been recovered so far.