Updated: August 13, 2020 05:08 PM
Created: August 13, 2020 05:00 PM
(WHEC) — One of the biggest fraud schemes during the pandemic was the one where scammers used information from working New Yorkers and applied for unemployment.
News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean found out the amount of money they were after was more than $1 billion.
The evidence of the scam started showing up at people's homes in June.
It was either a notice saying their unemployment application was approved or a debit card ready to be activated.
In every case, a scammer used a person's information to make a fraudulent unemployment claim.
Brean: “What information of yours is included on that document?”
Mark Halley: “It's got my name address, social security number, my employer, my employer identification number.”
Thursday, the State Department of Labor said it stopped more than 40,000 fraudulent claims totaling more than $1 billion.
Roberta Reardon, the head of labor and Linda Lacewell, the Superintendent of the State Department of Financial Services made a video warning people about the scam.
Lacewell: “These scam artists stole the identities of the hard-working and tried to unlawfully collect unemployment insurance benefits by filing a claim using the person's personal information. hoping to have the money deposited into the scammer's bank accounts.”
Reardon: “Many of the victims are targeted because they're working and have not filed a claim.”
The state says it stopped tens of thousands of bogus claims.
Greece Central School District reported more than 100 staff members were victims.
The U.S. Attorney told me the group behind this is based in Nigeria.
He says they stole people's information long ago either through a breach at their bank, insurance company or employer.
The reason they targeted school employees is because they knew they were still working.
If this happened to you, report it to the State Department of Labor.
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