Russian mobsters, Chinese hackers, and Nigerian scammers have used stolen identities to plunder tens of billions of dollars in Covid benefits, then distributing the money overseas in a massive transfer of wealth from U.S. taxpayers, officials and experts say.
And they say it is still happening.
Among the ripest targets for the cybertheft have been jobless programs. The federal government cannot say for sure how much of the more than $900 billion in pandemic-related unemployment relief has been stolen, but credible estimates range from $87 million to $400 billion — at least half of which went to foreign criminals, law enforcement officials say.
If you get a COVID email from FTC chief Khan, it’s a scam. https://t.co/J4e0zOxba3 It’s the IRS, not FTC, that’s distributing various coronavirus relief #tax payments. And neither agency will email you about the money.
— Kay Bell (@taxtweet) August 21, 2021