The FBI has alerted the public in the United States that threat actors are aggressively harvesting sensitive financial and personal information from unwary victims via fraudulent and counterfeit unemployment benefit websites.
Sites used in these assaults are designed to seem just like official government websites in order to deceive victims into giving over their information, and claiming unemployment benefits on their behalf. “In addition to the loss of benefits, victims of this conduct may face a variety of other repercussions, such as ransomware infection and identity theft.”
According to the FBI, 385 domains were discovered, with eight of them mimicking government sites related to official unemployment compensation systems.
There is also a high likelihood that the information obtained through these faked sites will end up in the hands of identity fraudsters, who would use it in different benefit fraud schemes. According to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in February 2021, the overall number of identity theft reports more than quadrupled in 2020 compared to 2019, with a record of 1.4 million reports in one year.
According to the FTC, “2020’s largest spike in identity theft reports to the FTC is connected to the countrywide job decline.” After the government increased unemployment benefits to those who were laid off as a result of the epidemic, hackers submitted claims using other people’s personal information.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also issued taxpayer guidelines in January on recognising theft attempts involving jobless payments.
The Internal Revenue Service today advised individuals who received Forms 1099-G for unemployment benefits they did not get due to identity theft to contact their relevant state office for a revised form,” according to the US federal revenue service.
“Taxpayers can also obtain an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN) from the IRS if they are worried that their personal information has been stolen and wish to safeguard their identity when completing their federal tax return.”