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Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:24 PM

Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen

Source: Axios

Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say...

===

By the numbers: Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, a service that tries to prevent this kind of fraud, tells Axios that America has lost more than $400 billion to fraudulent claims. As much as 50% of all unemployment monies might have been stolen, he says.

Haywood Talcove, the CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, estimates that at least 70% of the money stolen by impostors ultimately left the country, much of it ending up in the hands of criminal syndicates in China, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere...

===

"President Biden has been clear that this type of activity from criminal syndicates is despicable and unacceptable. It is why we passed $2 billion for UI modernizations in the American Rescue Plan, instituted a Department of Justice Anti-Fraud Task Force and an all-of-government Identity Theft and Public Benefits Initiative.”

Read more: https://www.axios.com/pandemic-unemployment-fraud-benefits-stolen-a937ad9d-0973-4aad-814f-4ca47b72f67f.html



A lot of it is scammers, international gangs with some foreign state affiliation, and professional fraudsters.

Much of the blame lies with the state governments that didn't take precautions against international wire fraud.

Under "how it works" the article links to another article on how the Secret Service is uncovering the ways state government payouts were hijacked by criminals using identity theft.

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Reply Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen (Original post)
Bucky Thursday OP
bucolic_frolic Thursday #1
soothsayer Thursday #2
bucolic_frolic Thursday #11
jmbar2 Thursday #31
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #3
Bucky Thursday #5
Progressive Jones Thursday #21
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #25
LymphocyteLover Thursday #35
milestogo Thursday #4
Bucky Thursday #7
milestogo Thursday #37
oldsoftie Thursday #13
machoneman Thursday #6
Sibelius Fan Thursday #9
Bucky Thursday #27
Bucky Thursday #10
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Thursday #8
DanieRains Thursday #15
monkeyman1 Thursday #40
oldsoftie Thursday #12
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #28
Cryptoad Thursday #14
Bucky Thursday #16
Probatim Thursday #18
MichMan Yesterday #49
Progressive Jones Thursday #22
hamsterjill Thursday #44
Probatim Thursday #17
Marrah_Goodman Thursday #19
oldsoftie Thursday #43
MrModerate Thursday #20
Bucky Thursday #24
MrModerate Thursday #41
Bucky Yesterday #45
MrModerate Yesterday #48
Jon King Thursday #23
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #29
Jon King Thursday #42
jmbar2 Thursday #32
totodeinhere Thursday #26
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #30
totodeinhere Thursday #33
Hugh_Lebowski Thursday #34
LymphocyteLover Thursday #36
dalton99a Thursday #38
rockfordfile Thursday #39
MichMan Yesterday #46
TheFarseer Yesterday #47

Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:29 PM

1. Hope they didn't steal my Stim #2

IRS still dragging its feet

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:32 PM

2. Ooh! It's sent a new wave maybe to people in your situation

I was reading somewhere.... like this


?s=21


WFAA
@wfaa
Millions of people have received 'plus-up' payments from the third stimulus check.

Stimulus checks keep coming. Here's who just got them.
wfaa.com
https://t.co/ZuM0AaNaPt

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:48 PM

11. Thanks, just dunno

Paper file, UT processing center. Did they get it? Who knows. Have they been slow before? Yes. Months, August. Why? I have no idea. How long will I wait? Probably about another month or so. What will I do? Write them a letter.

Hey, it's a plan.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:20 PM

31. I finally got mine

I had forgotten that you were still trying to track your stim down.

I was in the same boat. My solution was to do change of address form, and then file my taxes to that address. The check was released about 2 weeks later.

I had moved, and my last tax return was at another address. IIRC, you had no address change, so still a mystery.

Good luck.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:34 PM

3. I'm skeptical about the numbers being that high

"CEO of ID.me, a service that tries to prevent this kind of fraud"

You think this person might have some motivation to inflate the numbers?

I'm sure it was a problem and money was stolen, but I find it hard to believe that anywhere near 50% of the benefits paid were stolen by fake people.

States tend to be pretty damn tough to pry UI benefits out of in my experience.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:40 PM

5. Could be, but the original alert comes from the Secret Service

here's a link ==> https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/05/u-s-secret-service-massive-fraud-against-state-unemployment-insurance-programs/

It'd be nice if the estimate is high and that gets corrected. But the late Trump Administration was not good at coordinating LEAs to do due diligence. And state unemployment agencies, who were the parties most likely to be ripped off, were probably understaffed due to the pandemic and them still learning how to master the large-scale "work from home" trick.

State agencies, particularly in red states, are often underfunded and technologically a generation behind the curve.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:36 PM

21. Right wingers would love a story like this. nt

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Response to Progressive Jones (Reply #21)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:55 PM

25. For sure, attacking government programs over 'fraud' is a favorite tactic

I'm sure there was 'an issue' but I seriously doubt that 50% is a remotely reasonable number.

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #25)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:35 PM

35. Agree

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:37 PM

4. My unemployment account was hacked.

I was furloughed for 2 months last year, and during that time I opened a claim. I went back to work in June. In October I got some funky things in the mail from the workforce dept. but I didn't question it.

When it was time to file my taxes I tried to log in and get my tax form. My account had been deleted. Eventually I was able to get back in, and learned that my account was hacked in October. Somebody got paid for 2 weeks, and then it was flagged because they had changed the bank account and address. That's all they collected.

I eventually talked to an investigator, and she told me that normally I would have been called as soon as they caught it, but there were so many accounts hacked that they couldn't keep up. And they have lousy security.

I still haven't gotten a corrected tax form for 2020.

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Response to milestogo (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:41 PM

7. What state are you in?

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Response to Bucky (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:44 PM

37. Wisconsin

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Response to milestogo (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:56 PM

13. That just stinks. Hope it doesnt get worse

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:41 PM

6. Total winger bullshit for sure. These stories never back up their ludicrous claims.

Oh, and sure, the fellow quoted runs a firm that specializes in "risk solutions". How quaint!

Let's hear from the US Treasury, the FBI, Homeland Security, et al, before buying into this story. Heck even the N.Y.Times, Washington Post and other reputable newsies need to fill us in. Until then don't trust!

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Response to machoneman (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:44 PM

9. Yep. Because the ultimate message being peddled is "unemployment insurance

is bad, money gets stolen, best thing to do is not even have it.”

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Response to Sibelius Fan (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:00 PM

27. That's absolutely the Fox & Clones spin we'll get

Nevermind it happened under Trump.
Nevermind it was state governments falling for the scams.
Nevermind it exposes how vulnerable our state governments are to fraud and identity theft crimes.



This is why we should share this kind of info in the LBN forum. When we run into the RW spin, we have facts to punch back.

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Response to machoneman (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:45 PM

10. How about the Secret Service?

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/05/u-s-secret-service-massive-fraud-against-state-unemployment-insurance-programs/

I don't doubt we'll hear about this from Fox & Clones in the coming days. They'll probably leave out the bit about this happening under Trump's watch and it being mostly due to inept state governments getting ripped off.

I'm all for being skeptical about news reports. But I prefer to have something to back it up before judging it to be wingnut BS

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:43 PM

8. Don't know if it was 50% but a lot of false claims were filed

I received an e-mail from my state's Employment Security Department about a claim for unemployment I supposedly filed. I was pretty quick to notify them that I had not filed a claim. Turned out quite few fake claims were filed in Washington state.

I'm sure it was likewise in many other states.

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Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:05 PM

15. Yes WA Was Hacked And My Employees Laid Off Had To Wait Till The State Verified Them

It delayed the claims, but I don't think many frauds were sent out.

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Response to DanieRains (Reply #15)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 05:13 PM

40. floriduh !

don't fl. unemployment system rick scott built to fail & screw up the work's !! Florida is still a mess ! between scott & DEATHSENTENCE it will be for sometime !!

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:54 PM

12. I live in that world; 1/2 is probably LOW!!

You wouldnt believe the shit people are doing. Not just unemployment, but more with the PPP. I'm thinking at some point most of them are gonna get caught, but who knows. I warned several but fell on deaf ears

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Response to oldsoftie (Reply #12)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:00 PM

28. Well, I'm sure it's possible to audit something like this

Because so much payroll is done by a relative handful of companies, it's quite possible to compare claim counts at the UI office with layoffs/firings data from the various payroll companies and do statistical analysis of the likely levels of fraudulent claims/payouts.

As such, I'd imagine we'll get a pretty reliable 'official' estimate at some point ... in the meanwhile I'll take the estimates coming from the CEO of a risk management company with the proverbial salt grains.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:04 PM

14. Number one reason,,,,

no federal monies should be allocated to citizens by state gubermints.....especially MAGA States!

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:13 PM

16. Ummmm

I really think you're taking the wrong lesson from this.

A fully centralized, nation-wide system of unemployment services would be nearly unmanageable. The states should do a better job, absolutely. But federalizing it would be such a mess, from the standardization & integration of data banks to the replication of every single state's bureaucracy and services options by a federal bureaucracy, to the duplication of local contacts and contractors involved in retraining and employment outreaches. Not to mention the conflicts and hostilities it'd create between federal authorities and those in the states watching the federal government usurp their functions and responsibilities.

Nope, we only need one nightmare at a time.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:20 PM

18. MAGAt states are loathe to provide for their citizens.

As such, they build in ridiculous obstacles for claiming UI so people decide not to apply. Organized crime might take advantage of these situations to exploit people who can't through to the system and take their benefits in their names.

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Response to Probatim (Reply #18)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 04:29 PM

49. Kentucky & North Dakota for example have more generous benefits than California

California maximum is $450 per week. Kentucky is $552 and North Dakota is $618 per week. In my state it is a paltry $362


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Response to Bucky (Reply #16)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:42 PM

22. I agree, and I'm actually a fan of Federalizing a lot of things.

Leave UI to each State. I know that a lot of States don't run things very well.
I've had no problems here in IL, but we're not run by Republicans, so there you go...

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Response to Cryptoad (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 09:58 PM

44. Agreed

Then red state governors couldn’t decide to kick people off with the intention of forcing people to work for lower wages.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:17 PM

17. A close friend got a call from her HR department confirming she hadn't filed for UI.

They'd received notice of her claim and, given her senior role in the organization, thought they'd check in to make sure that wasn't the case.

She's now signed up for identity theft garbage and will be monitoring her finances for months.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:23 PM

19. Frankly even when reported nothing is done

You can report someone using your own information, but there is no way to turn someone in for claiming they are self-employed. I know a bad person who did this and had received tens of thousands of dollars on unemployment. He is an addict and hasn't worked in 20 years.

My last attempt was 6 months ago with a letter to the attorney general and to unemployment. Nothing was done.

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Response to Marrah_Goodman (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 08:36 PM

43. Yep, i've been there.

People say "Well, report them!"
Nobody cares

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:35 PM

20. I need something more than Axios's assertions to buy this.

The "How it Works" part didn't describe any actual instances of the con and certainly didn't suggest any particular expertise on the part of Axios's reporter.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #24)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 05:27 PM

41. So this isn't really a story about UI fraud. It's a story about identity theft...

Which is so pervasive that it can intercept any massive payment stream from a government to its citizens.

That sounds to me like the much bigger story.

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Response to MrModerate (Reply #41)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 11:35 AM

45. Yes, it's part of a bigger problem

Glad to see you're "buying it" now.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #45)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 12:40 PM

48. The emphasis on the 'mules' who forward payments rather than how the con works...

Still earns the reporter bad marks.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:43 PM

23. Not just organized crime, my former high school good buddy 'stole' $49400.

I put stole in quotes because it was not technically illegal, just highly scummy. Im sure he is typical of guys who love to milk the system. White guy, MBA, worked for venture capital firms, started his own private venture firm 10 years ago, lives in a $2 mil house, wife works, only kid out of college and long gone. They have more money than they will ever need.

I am sure he did not think anyone would ever know but they published all the corporations who took money. He took $49400 because the audit threshold was $50,000. It was labeled 'payroll'....he is the only employee, always was, works out of his mansion so the virus stuff did not stop his work, and that $49,400 is meaningless to him.

But I imagine him and all his buddies in his circle telling each other how to take it and get away with it. That money was meant to keep mom and pop restaurants and businesses from having to fire all their people. Scumbags like this guy and many others felt the need to further abuse the system, disgusting.

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Response to Jon King (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:04 PM

29. You're talking about the business payouts not UI benefits

TONS of people have been caught taking the business benefits illegally but that's a different subject. Just saying

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #29)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 06:29 PM

42. True, that entire program was a collosal Trumpster fire.

They had no checks and balances on the types of businesses that could get those payroll sustaining payouts.

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Response to Jon King (Reply #23)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:25 PM

32. Wonder if there are any whistleblower rewards...

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 03:57 PM

26. The take away from this revelation is that we need to do much more to stop this type of

fraud.

However, the take away is not that there is anything wrong with the inherent concept of unemployment insurance. UI needs to continue while greater efforts need to be employed to fight fraud. But this should not mean making it more difficult for legitimate, honest UI insurance recipients.

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #26)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:04 PM

30. But it WILL be conveniently used for that exact purpose, esp. in Red States (nt)

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Response to Hugh_Lebowski (Reply #30)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:29 PM

33. Yes of course it will be. But what I'm saying is it shouldn't be. n/t

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Response to totodeinhere (Reply #33)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:32 PM

34. We have a consensus then :) nt

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:37 PM

36. was it worse in wingnut states with weaker systems because they hate to pay for govt?

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:53 PM

38. Kick

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 04:57 PM

39. If true, then WOW. Russia is getting worse.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 12:01 PM

46. My state fired an employee last summer for facilitating fraud in exchange for kickbacks

Yet, they declined to take her state issued computer and didn't cancel her log in password and access, so she continued to do it for another month after being fired. She was working from home.

Complete incompetence.

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Response to Bucky (Original post)

Fri Jun 11, 2021, 12:34 PM

47. I know some people in HRs

That were called by unemployment offices trying to verify that people who still worked there were let go. I bet some were overwhelmed with inquiries and everything else and didn’t bother to check.

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