The wheels of government move slowly, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. Government offices were closed, operating on shortened hours or by appointment only, and most often at reduced staffing levels.
Typically, when the government does move quickly to address a problem, money in huge amounts is thrown at it as a solution. Chaos frequently ensues in the rush to help. Unanticipated circumstances spring up, and safeguards are overlooked.
Scammers, however, move quickly when they see chaos present an opportunity to rip off people, government or organizations.
In what has most likely become the most massive scam opportunity ever, scammers raced to exploit the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
According to ID.me, a company that provides states with identity verification support tools, the U.S. government has suffered losses to the tune of an estimated $200 billion.
Since its inception, scammers have used bots to file bogus claims for unemployment insurance benefits covered by the Federal PUA, equating to 68% of the nation’s 164 million workforce.
An article on the non-profit newsroom website ProPublica.org demonstrates how widespread the fraud extends, citing examples of a Bronx man who allegedly received $1.5 million in just 10 months, a California real estate broker that copped more than $500,000 within six months and a Nigerian government official accused of pocketing over $350,000 in less than six weeks. The broker has pleaded guilty, while the…