‘Easy money’: How international scam artists pulled off an epic theft of Covid benefits
Aug. 15, 2021
By Ken Dilanian, Kit Ramgopal, Chloe Atkins, and Andrew Blankstein, NBCNews
Russian mobsters, Chinese hackers and Nigerian scammers have used stolen identities to plunder tens of billions of dollars in American Covid benefits, including cybertheft in pandemic-related unemployment relief. Credible estimates range from $87 million to $400 billion — at least half of which went to foreign criminals, law enforcement officials say.
“This is like letting people just walk right into Fort Knox and take the gold, and nobody even asked any questions,” said Blake Hall, the CEO of ID.me, which has contracts with 27 states to verify identities.