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The Trillion-Dollar Grift: Inside the Greatest Scam of All TimeIn late March 2020, Haywood Talcove, a CEO at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, was packing up his office, having sent his employees home. He was worrying about laying off his staff, his family’s health, and how he was going to manage two young kids at home during the pandemic.
But when President Trump announced an initial $2.2 trillion relief package to bail out the millions of Americans desperate for cash during the national lockdown, his concern turned away from the coronavirus. An expert in cybersecurity, Talcove has worked in both the private and public sectors, and has been raising the alarm about the government’s exposure to scams for many years. And now, it was like all of his prior analysis and warnings about fraud had just become real.
“I said, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to allow anyone to get unemployment-insurance benefits,” he recalls. “The systems are vulnerable. All you needed was a name, a date of birth, an address, and a social security number.”
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The pandemic relief was the biggest bailout in history, and it opened the door to wide-scale fraud the likes of which no one had ever seen — more than three years later, we still don't know how much damage was done