Washington State Lost "Hundreds of Millions" to Nigerian Scammers? Are My Ears Deceiving Me?



Yeah F these people. So now the choice is turn off unemployment benefits early or make up the difference by cutting funding from schools and critical services across the state. Under already crippled budget revenues. (Yeah someone will say “we need to tap taxes from Bezos billions even more now,” but we all know that’s going nowhere.) But yay, way to dream big Nigerian fraudsters? Was that the point of this article?


Cut this country off from the Internet entirely. All packets from Nigeria go to the bit bucket.


Yeah, it's depressing that our Washington state made the top of the victims list.
And we were worried about internet trolls for Putin based in St Petersburg!


@1, false dichotomy. We could just raise taxes on the rich. No problem, easy fix, nobody gets hurt.


How is that even possible? "tens of thousands of people" -> "hundreds of millions of dollars" suggests tens of thousands of dollars per stolen identity. Just going by the number of zeros.

Does unemployment pay out that much?


@4, No. Tax Nigeria, that's where our money is. Lockdown Nigerian offshore bank accounts. They owe Us.

The money you want to squeeze out of Bezos is not in his bank account, it's in stock. He would have to sell the stock to get cash. Why not Tax the people who have that kind of cash? I mean that's the people you think have too much, right....


My Nigerian Prince Friend is for real. He loves me and wants my information. So I gave him your's instead. But he's still me friend.

BTW he says what he is doing is reparations for Slavery and British Colonization.


Charles, correct me if I'm wrong, your article implies Zimbabwe is still just a 3rd World Country and would never try to or be capable of internet atrocities.


@4, yeah just like Seattle - oh wait that income tax was struck down by the WA Supreme Court. Also like the head tax - oh nevermind. Read my first comment again. Not happening.


@5 How is it possible? Neglect and mismanagement at the unemployment office.
Let's assume $200m because they said "hundreds of millions". Let's assume 8 weeks since expanded benefits have been occurring and an average payout of $1,000/week.
That's 25,000 fraudulent accounts.
How in the fuck do you not notice that?
If you read the comments in ST, people have been going weeks and weeks waiting on payments and the state paid out hundreds of millions to fraudsters in the meantime, lickity split.
Where is the lawsuit from the state AG representing the workers and taxpayers on this one? If a business didn't pay it's workers on time, or 6 weeks late, they would be up their ass so fast with a lawsuit.
They have deflected any responsibility.
Doubtful any heads will roll in government, they can always make up some bullshit tax to cover their asses.


Jesus Horatio Christ, this is depressing. How did Washington State make #1 on the Nigerian hit list for fraud? I have a friend who works for the State Employment Office who must be ripping his hair out by this devastating news.

Hoo boy, this reminds me of the all-too-familiar online scam email I once saw, reported as spam, and wisely deleted without even opening, starting with:
"Hello. I am a deposed Nigerian prince living in exile....."


Nigerian scamsters manage to fleece State of Washington for hundreds of millions?

No surprise. This is what you get after essentially single-party rule for 35 years.

This is what you get when you elect people who think it's more important to hire and promote people based on how 'woke' or 'intersectional' they are rather than for quaint things like education, experience, skills, and track record.

But it's all good! They may be jaw-droppingly incompetent, but by golly, they DO know which pronoun to use.

The Dems only saving grace here is in knowing that as bad as they are, the state GOP is even worse. They're incapable of fielding any candidate who isn't (a) a Bible-thumping whackjob, (b) an ammosexual with a tiny penis, (c) a science-denying, 'no-government', mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, rock-eating luddite, or (d) all of the above.

But I suppose it could be worse; Kshama Sawant and the Seattle City Council could be running the WESD. Then the Nigerians wouldn't have to bother to even create phony accounts; Sawant & Co would be FedExing the dough to them in Gucci suitcases!


@11 - you have to admit that there are not a lot of job opportunities for deposed Nigerian princes, so they are probably entitle to unemployment benefits.


We'd be lucky if it's only incompetence. Who's helping them from the inside?


This is all because, contrary to our State Constitution, Washington State publishes full personal information ON THE WEB for anyone to steal.

Stop doing that.

P.S.: Yes, there will be class action lawsuits


But experts say that, even before then, there were some clues that should’ve raised alarms about fraud. Some Washingtonians said they found their ESD accounts redirected to an email service called Yopmail, which provides “disposable” email addresses that require no password. Scattered Canary also used so-called “google.dot” accounts, that is, variations of the same Gmail address that can be used to set up a separate ESD account but, which all deliver to a single Gmail email address, according to Agari.

Then there was the payment system. In order to actually receive the fraudulent benefits, Scattered Canary and other groups often use “mules” — people who knowingly or unknowingly help launder money by opening bank accounts or online debit card accounts.

The Secret Service, in its May 14 bulletin, noted Washington had sent automated payments to persons outside the state “all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder.”

The out-of-state bank accounts should have been “a huge red flag” for ESD to scrutinize payments, said the senior fraud officer at an East Coast bank that received at least five electronic deposits from “UI Benefit WA ST."
-Seattle times today

Nope, no screw-up here we are just innocent victimz!


This is another biased attempt at making innocent Nigerians look bad. There are criminals in every parts of the world - I’ve lived in Ghana and been to Zimbabwe and it’s a lie that these countries are better than Nigeria in terms of crime. There is something called “sakawa” in Ghana and people don’t talk about it. Most of my friends are Nigerians and they are the most hardworking and disciplined set of people I have ever met. The country has over 200million people and judging such a vast country based on the actions of less than 1,000 people is the height of stupidity.

People keep fueling unfounded stereotypes about Nigeria when the facts suggest otherwise. For instance, the so called Nigerian-Prince was not started by Nigerians. If you even check the data released by the FBI, you will realize Nigerians constitute less than 6% of Nigerian-Prince scams. Countries like Russia, China, India and even USA have 10times more scammers/hackers than Nigeria but people will only talk about Nigeria.

I’m a Kenyan and I studied History. In Yoruba culture, contentment, respect and honesty are the bedrocks of Yoruba society. The fact that less than 1% of Nigeria’s total population engage in notorious cybercrime does not mean Zimbabwean society has more values. After all, we know what Mugagbe and his family did.


@20: One would think that a simple method that returns true if the bank is in state and otherwise false, would provide that red flag.


Washington state = low hanging fruit.


@12, @13, @14, @15, and @21: Meanwhile, you're among the idiots all willingly electing a total incompetent xenophobe who only cares about protecting its own self interests.Just STFU, already, MAGA trash, all of you.


I always figured that most of the "Nigerians" were in fact unemployed incels living in their mom's basement.


Charlie honey.......racist shots at the poor Nigerians but no opinion on the incompetence demonstrated by your woke but moronic buddies in our state government? Way to deflect and ignore Chuckles.

26 - I've known for some time that your TDS was consuming your twisted mind....but taking shots at the orange one and anyone you think may have voted for him (I did not) and trashing them over a story that should be about the incompetence of your beloved donkeys is priceless. Maybe you and your far leftist communist friends should STFU about the orange one when the story has nothing to do with him.......sweetie!