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How have unemployment insurance benefits been targeted by criminals since the onset of COVID-19?
Through identity theft and the use of money mules. Criminals are using stolen identities of U.S. citizens to open accounts and file fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance, and money laundering techniques to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illicitly obtained money. This fraud is often perpetrated via out-of-state ACH transactions. We strongly advise increased scrutiny of ACH transactions, especially those outside the norm for customer accounts. Criminals are also using various means to steal legitimate claimants’ passwords, account numbers, and/or Social Security numbers to gain access benefits and accounts.
If your financial institution uncovers fraudulent ACH payments or schemes related to unemployment insurance benefits, please report the fraud to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). All fraud complaints should be filed using the Michigan UIA form, even those involving other states. The UIA will refer any necessary information to state and federal authorities. Banks are also encouraged to reach out the Michigan State Police directly to provide information related to suspected unemployment insurance fraud. Please also notify the DIFS Office of Banking with a summary of the suspected fraud.
Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Fraud Reporting Form https://miwam.unemployment.state.mi.us/ClmMiWAM/_/#2