U.S. Secret Service blaming Nigerian fraud ring for unemployment fraud in U.S.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission (OESC) has already flagged tens of thousands of “highly” suspicious claims. Now, multiple reports are showing the feds are naming seven states overall, including Oklahoma, that have been affected by this issue.

Numerous outlets, including the The New York Times, have reported that the U.S. Secret Service sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the nation, saying they are blaming the fake unemployment claims on a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring.

According to the Times, the memo said there is “evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Florida.” The secret service said that Washington State was the main target. The memo went on to say there could be “potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

The OESC also released a statement to KFOR, saying in part:

“Oklahoma is one of the states that has been targeted by multiple groups committing fraud via the state’s unemployment system. Most of the information obtained by these groups dates back to the financial and retail data breaches of 2017.”

Several stories have surfaced about unemployment fraud over the past month. Several people claim they have received mail from the unemployment office with their personal information, even when they didn’t apply.

“I mean my Social Security number was on there, and that was very scary to me,” said JJ Owens.

“When I started reading it, I’m like, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t apply for unemployment,’” said Shelia Breasette.

Right now, the issue is still ongoing in Oklahoma.

“Uh-oh, problem, I’m not applying, we’ve got some fraud going on,” said Karen Allen, a woman recently affected by unemployment fraud.

Karen Allen received letters from the unemployment office with her Social Security number, address and financial information all included. Allen said it affects her far beyond just receiving some paperwork.

“You got 27 pages of credit report you got to go through; you got to talk to your banks, you got to make sure anybody who might have financial information you’re monitoring to make sure they’re not tapping into other things,” she said.

The OESC’s statement went on to say that the situation is being investigated by the OSBI and FBI. The statement said they provide specifics during an ongoing investigation.

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