Oklahoma may be among the targets of a Nigerian crime ring perpetrating 'massive' unemployment fraud against U.S. state programs.
The website Krebs on Security and the New York Times reported the U.S. Secret Service has issued a memo warning the perpetrators are using personal information of first responders, teachers and government personnel.
"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 Secret Service said.
Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission Human Resources Director Matt Stewart warned staff on Friday about an extraordinary number of claims against the agency.
"To date, we have seen 104 fraudulent unemployment claims made against the ABLE Commission. Fifteen of those claims use the identities of our employees," Stewart said.
Stewart said the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has shut down all claims he’s flagged within 24 hours. The problem, however, may be more widespread.
"I've been talking to other administrative personnel in just the state agencies and it wouldn't surprise me if the state as a whole has received tens of thousands of claims," Stewart said.
OESC reports it’s received more than 11,000 fictitious claims thus far out of around 410,000 total during the COVID-19 pandemic.