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Cybersecurity Alert – Increase in Unemployment Fraud

VC3 logo with the words Cybersecurity Alert over top a textured background

According to the FBI and VC3’s own experience, there is an increase in attempts by bad actors to fraudulently claim unemployment benefits using stolen personally identifiable information (PII) of current employees.

What You Need to Do

  • Alert your Human Resources department to this attack. They must be extra vigilant in investigating whether unemployment claims are legitimate.
  • Make your employees aware of this attack. If the unemployment office unexpectedly reaches out to them about an unemployment claim, there may be an issue.
  • If you have an employee who experiences a fraudulent unemployment claim, encourage the employee to follow this advice from the Department of Labor.

How This Attack Happens

The bad guys are taking advantage of the historic increase in unemployment claims to impersonate current employees and submit fraudulent unemployment claims. These bad guys often buy stolen PII like social security numbers and dates of birth. They then use the stolen data to fill out the required forms to submit the claim.

Details from a Real Example

One of our clients experienced a number of unexpected unemployment claims for current employees in the span of just a few days. This clearly raised a red flag as it made no sense for these current employees to file for unemployment benefits.

They engaged us to determine the issue. Thankfully, this client has cyber liability insurance. VC3 worked with the cyber forensic team of the insurance carrier over the weekend to determine if a breach had occurred.

As it turns out, there was no breach of the organization’s employment data. Law enforcement was engaged, and they were aware of multiple instances of this type of attack occurring. It became evident that this issue is happening nationwide. The necessary information was likely acquired through other malicious activities, like the credit reporting agency breach from a few years ago.

Importance of Cyber Liability Insurance

If we can share anything from this experience, it’s the value of cyber liability insurance. Not only is it important to have the insurance for attacks like ransomware, but it’s also invaluable to have the forensic team so readily accessible.