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Fraud Alert: Unemployment Payment Scams

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Ameris Bank

These are uncertain and confusing times that are difficult for many. Unfortunately, these tough times set the stage for scammers to increase their activity.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, a well-organized Nigerian crime ring is committing large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs. The fraud network is believed to consist of hundreds of “mules,” willing or unknowing individuals, who are recruited to launder the proceeds of fraudulent financial transactions.

Here’s How It Works:

Individuals are receiving multiple automatic deposits from state unemployment insurance programs. In almost every case, the deposits were made in the name of a person who had no connection to the account holder. Although the primary state targeted is Washington, there is also evidence of attacks happening in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming. It is likely that every state is vulnerable to this scheme.

Here’s How You Can Help:

Be aware! If you receive an unexpected automatic deposit, consider the following:  

  • Are you eligible to receive the funds? 
  • Is the name listed on the deposit that of someone other than yourself?
  • Did you receive a phone call or email asking you to forward or withdraw all or part of the funds to send to someone else?
  • Is the deposit from a state you reside in or is it from out of state?
  • Have you been told you can keep part of the funds?
  • Have you been told not to let your bank know why you are withdrawing these funds?
  • Were you a previous victim of an online scam? 

If you received an unexpected automatic deposit, especially from a state unemployment program, and answered yes to any of these questions, please contact us immediately.

If you are a business that originates ACH or wire transactions, double check the transactions originate by your organization and make sure they are legitimate. If you have questions, contact us immediately.