Half of the Unemployment Stimulus Money May Have Been Stolen: Axios

Half of the Unemployment Stimulus Money May Have Been Stolen: Axios

Axios reported that they often steal people’s personal information to withdraw money, and “mules,” or low-level criminals, are given debit cards to withdraw that money from ATMs, which then gets transferred abroad. So how are scammers managing to carry out this fraud? Given that some Democrats are pushing for recurring stimulus payments and unemployment benefits beyond what has already been delivered, fraud is something that will need to be addressed before moving forward. The OIG recommended more modernized technology to better detect fraudulent payments, along with working with states to help process claims.

This is not the first reported instance of stimulus money ending up in the wrong hands. Last week, federal authorities announced that Venezuelans living in South Florida and Mexico had stolen over $800,000 in stimulus checks since the start of the pandemic.  “These groups are definitely backed by the state,” Talcove said.

And on May 28, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that $39 billion in unemployment money from the CARES Act had been wasted, partly due to failures in detecting fraud and improper payments.  Axios reported on Thursday that unemployment fraud has been on the rise during the pandemic, with Blake Hall, the CEO of ID.me, a fraud prevention service, telling the news service that America has lost $400 billion to fraudulent claims and that as much as 50% of unemployment claims might have been stolen. The CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Government business, Haywood Talcove, also told Axios that at least 70% of stolen money ultimately left the country, with much of it ending up in places including Chin and Nigeria.

Source www.businessinsider.com

“A temporary boost in unemployment benefits that we enacted helped people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and who still may be in the process of getting vaccinated,” the president said in brief remarks following the May jobs report. “But it’s going to expire in 90 days — it makes sense it expires in 90 days.” But as a growing number of GOP-led states are ending unemployment benefits early to encourage people to get back to work, any further extension of unemployment benefits looks unlikely. President Joe Biden even said in a speech last week that while the benefits have been effective thus far, “it makes sense” for them to expire in September.

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