The US Secret Service has issued an alert of a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting The COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.
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 electronic deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefit Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder.
After those funds are deposited in the identified account, they are withdrawn at locations around the country and transferred to other accounts, including overseas.
As always, please be vigilant for unauthorized activity on your account. Below is more information on how to stay protected.
Here’s what you can do to stay safe
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation has presented new opportunities for online scammers. Please be sure to remain vigilant and aware of phone and email scams. As a reminder: if we contact you, we will not request your password, PIN or Social Security Number. Please read more about how to stay protected with this information from the Federal Trade Commission.
Here are some things you can do help identify or prevent fraud:
- Never provide any personal or financial information to anyone who has contacted you over the phone or internet.
- Carefully read your financial statements, look for unauthorized changes and report them as soon as possible.
- Don’t ignore small charges on your accounts. If an identity thief has gained access to your information, this is usually how they can test your card to see if it is active before making larger purchases.
- Set up customizable e-Alerts to notify you of your account activity.
- Every year, order a copy of your credit report and check it for accuracy.
As always, the safety of your personal data is a top priority for all of us at Nutmeg. We are here to answer any questions you may have about keeping your information protected and secure. If you ever believe you are a victim of fraud please contact us immediately for assistance.