May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020
An international fraud ring is taking advantage of the current pandemic by using stolen identities to file for unemployment benefits. The State of Washington unemployment program has emerged as the primary target with individuals residing out-of-state receiving ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefit Program. The ACH deposits contain names that don't match the accounts to which the funds are deposited. All states are at risk as this fraud network is believed to be made up of hundreds or possibly thousands of money mules with potential losses soaring in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Several credit unions have reported that members are receiving ACH deposits representing unemployment benefits. Some members received multiple ACH deposits. Likely, members were recruited as money mules to transfer the deposited funds to the fraudsters. Fraudsters can have the unemployment benefits loaded directly to a P2P app, such as Venmo or Cash App. Then, they can transfer the funds to money mule accounts. One credit union reported receiving multiple deposits to member accounts in this manner.
Beware! If you receive an unexpected electronic deposit into your account, or a check in the mail that was not requested or looks suspicious, please contact your financial institution immediately to verify. We will protect our members and investigate suspicious transactions whenever possible.