More than $45 billion in U.S. benefit fraud during pandemic

In the United States, scammers committed more than $45 billion in insurance fraud during the coronavirus pandemic. They received illegal unemployment benefits, including using the social security numbers of deceased people. This is reported by the US federal regulator.

According to The Washington Post, the criminals used more than 205,000 person numbers of deceased people. Criminals also filed unemployment claims in multiple states, giving them money from more than one state.

The Trump administration introduced the aid program in 2020, with the aim of supporting households left unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In the first five months of the pandemic, more than 57 million families benefited from the scheme, which provided them with weekly benefits. But it soon became apparent that criminals were also targeting the program.

The regulator initially thought that fraud had been committed for around $16 billion, but recently announced that it was likely to be a higher amount. Even now, the regulator warns that not all fraud may be in the picture yet, and that the amount may therefore be higher again.