July 15, 2020

Maryland is investigating widespread identity theft and $500 million in fraudulent unemployment claims
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday that his state is investigating a "widespread identity theft" scheme that is allegedly taking advantage of pandemic-related unemployment payments and additional benefits offered by the CARES act. The investigation has revealed more than 47,500 fraudulent unemployment claims were made, worth more than $501 million. The Maryland Department of Labor reportedly did not experience a breach of its unemployment insurance system. Instead, the state's Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson said a spike in claims out of Maryland triggered the investigation, but the federal and state governments teamed up to stop the scammers and enhance security. Hogan added that Maryland claimants' personal information has not been compromised, and that the alleged thieves used identities from previous national data breaches. Maryland has informed other states about the scam, and it appears related efforts occurred in at least a dozen other states.

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