Thursday, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, or CDLE, announced it's now requiring more Coloradans to verify their identity through the ID.me system, as the department says it's seeing an uptick in fraudulent claims. This, after the CDLE said it's already flagged more than 1 million claims.
- Well, Coloradans needing unemployment benefits now are going to have to verify their identity in order to continue getting the payments.
ALAN GIONET: Well, the state's Labor Department said today that the ID.me program will help cut down on fraud, and they say there is a long wait. Now, the state says fraudsters are resilient. In fact, they believe there are more fraud claims than there are credible claims, more than a million total.
So we're taking a look at what to expect if you find out somebody has filed for unemployment in your name. CBS 4 investigator Kati Weis has been covering the issue extensively throughout the pandemic. She's back with more. And what should fraud victims know first of all?
KATI WEIS: Alan, we found the Department of Labor will not be sending much communication to fraud victims. Instead, it will be important to know that it's not to worry if you've completed the right steps.
SUSAN SCHEBLER: The whole thing is just crazy.
KATI WEIS: Susan Schebler has never filed for unemployment. Yet last fall, she received an unemployment US Bank ReliaCard in the mail. She says she reported the fraud to police, her bank, and credit bureaus, and she filled out the proper paperwork on the Colorado Department of Labor's website. She also tried calling.
SUSAN SCHEBLER: I would be on there for 45 minutes, and then it would say, "There are no appointments."
KATI WEIS: And despite all her efforts--
SUSAN SCHEBLER: In February, I got a demand for payment from Colorado Department of Labor that they had in error forwarded to me $1,400 and I needed to pay it back. But I didn't get benefit of it.
KATI WEIS: Worried, she tried calling again but still couldn't get through.
SUSAN SCHEBLER: I'm also concerned that it's going to become something that I have to pay taxes on and report on my income tax. And so that's a little concerning.
KATI WEIS: So we inquired about her case and found the department has confirmed the claim as fraudulent, and Susan won't owe any money. The department says, "After an individual or employer submits a fraud report online, they may not receive a follow-up call from CDLE. After reporting the fraud, individuals can ignore any future correspondence in regards to the fraudulent claim." The department's also trying to stop sending automated letters about fraudulent claims but says the volume in fraudulent claims makes that difficult.
SUSAN SCHEBLER: I think it's an epic fail. Shouldn't there be a better system in place so that it's not an epidemic like this?
KATI WEIS: Now, the department says it is working to try to send unemployment fraud victims more formal letters that they can keep for their records. Live in Denver, I'm Kati Weis, covering Colorado first.