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US Investigates Nigerian Fraudster Ring For Fake Unemployment Claims

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The Secret Service is investigating a vast fraud ring of suspected Nigerian hackers who allegedly used bogus unemployment claims to steal hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars intended to help jobless Americans.

The crime ring is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis by flooding overwhelmed state unemployment offices with bogus claims in the names of Americans who are still working, according to a memo reported by Krebs on Security.

The memo, sent to Secret Service field offices on Thursday, said that ‘substantial amount of the fraudulent benefits’ have used information stolen from ‘first responders, government personnel and school employees.’

Washington state, said to be a magnet for bogus claims, has already had to temporarily halt payment of benefits while it sorts through the surge of fraud, leaving jobless Americans in dire financial straits.

State labor departments are being targeted by Nigerian scammers stealing millions in unemployment benefits, the Secret Service warns. A labor office in New York is seen above +4
State labor departments are being targeted by Nigerian scammers stealing millions in unemployment benefits, the Secret Service warns. A labor office in New York is seen above.

Washington’s Employment Security Department suspended payments on Thursday to sort through what it calls ‘impostor theft’ by sophisticated criminals using stolen Social Security numbers and other personal data to access the state’s unemployment insurance system. 

The state planned to resume benefits payments on Saturday.

It comes as state unemployment offices have been overwhelmed by record-shattering numbers of claims, with more than 35 million people losing their jobs amid the lockdowns intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The bogus claims only make it harder for overtaxed state offices to pay out legitimate claims, at a time when many who lost their jobs months ago have yet to see their legitimate claims filled. 

‘It is assumed the fraud ring behind this possesses a substantial [personal information] database to submit the volume of applications observed thus far,’ the Secret Service warned in the memo. 

‘The primary state targeted so far is Washington, although there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida,’ the memo added. 

It comes as unemployment claims surge to record highs with millions out of work +4
It comes as unemployment claims surge to record highs with millions out of work

The Treasury Department says unemployment programs delivered $48 billion in payments in April alone (file photo) +4
The Treasury Department says unemployment programs delivered $48 billion in payments in April alone (file photo)

‘In the state of Washington, individuals residing out-of-state are receiving multiple ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefits Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder,’ the notice continues. 

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle said on Friday that it is working with state authorities to track down and prosecute criminals who are stealing unemployment benefits.

U.S. Attorney Brian Moran is investigating unemployment fraud in Washington state +4
U.S. Attorney Brian Moran is investigating unemployment fraud in Washington state

‘Chasing these reprehensible criminals is just one part of the equation,’ U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said in a statement. 

‘The other part is for the state to address and fix the vulnerabilities in their system, and I am advised that they are working to address that part of the problem.’ 

The Secret Service memo suggests that the suspected Nigerian scammers utilize American ‘mules’ — often victims of online romance scams — to receive direct deposits from the fraudulent transactions and forward the money to the overseas scammers.

The Secret Service was historically part of the Treasury Department, and in addition to protecting the president it is tasked with safeguarding the nation’s financial and payment systems. 

Bankers in Oklahoma say that they have seen a surge in unemployment claims from Washington sent to suspected mules in their state.

‘It’s been unbelievable to see the huge number of bogus filings here, and in such large amounts,’ Elaine Dodd, executive vice president of the fraud division at the Oklahoma Bankers Association, told Krebs. 

‘I’m proud of our bankers because they’ve managed to stop a lot of these transfers, but some are already gone. Most mules seem to have [been involved in] romance scams.’ 

On Thursday, the federal government reported that nearly three million people filed unemployment claims last week, bringing the total over the last two months to more than 36 million. 

The Treasury Department says unemployment programs delivered $48 billion in payments in April alone.

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Video: Mojisola Oduola -Kabiyesi

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At last the long awaited video is out . KABIYESI The unquestionable God.

watch and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel. May God bless you as you do so.

This will surely serve as my birthday gift from my love ones.
Click on the link below

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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Funny tweets, memes and videos from Twitter NG for “Happy 420”

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Today’s date, April 20, stylised as 4/20 is a day worldwide commemorated by stoners or smokers of weed to celebrate marijuana. In short, it is treated as a public holiday for weed/marijuana and termed—Happy 420.

Twitter NG i.e users of Twitter in Nigeria, as it is the yearly custom are trending “Happy 420” as the number one topic in the country. While many really used the medium to share their unwavering love for weed, others have taken it upon themselves to make funny tweets, memes, skits and share several videos in relation to weed smoking and “Happy 420” as an entity.

While some tweeps take jab at those who don’t smoke weed but indulge in the “woke” culture by wishing stoners a “Happy 420”, others in their own way intentionally misinterpret certain scriptural verses for comedic purpose in order to aid and bait their smoking habits, still others take it upon themselves to disperse various memes which for sure will bring a smile upon your face. That’s not all, though, for we have some tweeps who did brainstorm to form some of the best puns concerning weed and stoners jokes ever. Well we can say irrespective of the way they passed their message regarding “Happy 420”, they all ended on a high note. Enjoy!

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FG to extend fuel subsidy for 6 months

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The Nigerian Government may have suspended plans to end its subsidy payments as reports indicate that the FG plans to spend N720 billion for the next 6 months on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) subsidies.

This was disclosed in an exclusive report by The Guardian on Sunday, citing that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that the subsidies remain in place for the next 6 months.

“Specifically, President Buhari has asked the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to suspend any idea on subsidy removal for five to six months so that a plan that does not harm ordinary Nigerians is evolved if the deregulation must go on,” a Government official said.

What you should know

NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari disclosed last month that the “NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden because we cannot continue to carry it in our books,” after reports of fuel imports under-recovery revealed the FG was spending N120 billion a month on subsidy.
Kyari also hinted that they may soon start selling PMS at market prices saying: “NNPC importing PMS at market price and selling at N162/L. The actual market price should be between N211 and N234/L. Meaning is that consumers are not paying the market price.
“NNPC is currently the sole importer of PMS, and we’re trying to exit the underpriced sale of PMS. Eventual exit is inevitable, when it will happen I cannot say, but engagements are ongoing because the government is cognisant of the implications.”

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