Incidents

Hackers claimed unemployment money using stolen identities. Millions of taxpayers’ money lost

As mentioned already by multiple authorities, coronavirus is no issue alien to the cybercriminal world, with multiple hacking groups trying to take advantage of the pandemic. Specialists from a cyber security course mention that the state of Maryland, US, received nearly half a million fraudulent unemployment stimulus requests, so hackers tried to make nearly $500 million USD in profit.

Larry Hogan, governor of Maryland, points out that this is part of a nationwide fraudulent campaign detected just over a month ago. Local authorities believe similar activities could be taking place simultaneously in at least a dozen states.

In an interview for The Washington Post, the governor mentioned that fraudulent claims have already been identified, so criminals will not receive economic stimulus, although an undetermined number of legitimate users might see their accounts frozen during the investigation.

In subsequent statements, Gov. Hogan revealed that criminals could have created hundreds of thousands of false identities from a huge cache of information compromised in other data breach incidents. According to cyber security course experts, fraudulent records contain details extracted from security incidents at Experian, the Federal Office of Personnel Administration, among other public and private organizations.

Fraudulent applicants posed as out-of-state companies seeking economic stimulus for job loss (up to $600 per week), designed to support small businesses to counteract the consequences of the confinement period.

This is not the only setback that the state of Maryland has suffered since the launch of this program, the experts of the cyber security course mention. At first, the website to register collapsed multiple times, so users were unable to receive the stimulus in time. Hogan says the state has already processed more than 95% of applications.

In a recent report, the FBI warned of an increase in such crimes, directly related to the launch of such programs: “Many victims of identity theft are unaware that they have been attacked until they file an application for unemployment insurance benefits,” the alert says.

For further reports on vulnerabilities, exploits, malware variants and computer security risks, it is recommended to enter the website of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), as well as the official platforms of technology companies.

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