Unfortunately, with the rise in unemployment insurance claims associated with COVID-19, there has also been a rise in fraudulent claims and other instances of fraud.
2020 has resulted in unemployment for numerous people. In response, the federal government has worked to extend unemployment benefits and increase payments to help people get by. Sadly, this has caused the criminal element to turn their efforts toward unemployment insurance fraud. As a result, the State of Colorado has witnessed growth in the number of fraudulent unemployment claims
While we can not be certain where the data come these bad actors are using to file fraudulent claims comes from, it is likely the data was obtained as a result of the numerous data breaches that have occurred in the last years. Once data is stolen from a company, it is packed up and then sold on the “Dark Web” to as many customers as possible before losing its value. A threat actor then takes that purchased data and enriches it with other data they’ve bought to fill in any missing information necessary to file an unemployment claim. Because of this black market of data, this is a growing problem throughout our state and the nation as a whole.
If you become aware of a fraudulent Colorado unemployment claim filed in your name, there are steps you should follow to report the incident and steps you can take to protect your identity and your credit.
- Visit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment's website and "Submit a Fraud Report".
- If you received a U.S. Bank Reliacard for Colorado unemployment benefits but did not file a claim, fill out the U.S Bank Form (available through the website above) or contact U.S. Bank immediately at 1-855-279-1678. Tell them a fraudulent unemployment claim was filed using your information and ask them to deactivate the card.
- Contact the three consumer credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number (SSN). Make sure to review your credit report for unknown accounts and review routinely (quarterly or semi-annually). IfIt may be an automated system, so you may not talk to a live person and you will have to enter your SSN and date of birth. Monitor your credit reports on a regular basis. Due to increased fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, each of the three credit bureaus is offering free weekly credit reports via annualcreditreport.com
You should also consider freezing your credit
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- File a "counter report" with your local police department. As a victim, you have the right to file this report. It does not mean the police will investigate it, but there will at least be a record of it on file and you can get a copy of the report for your records.
- You can also report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov. The FTC's website includes valuable resources about how to recover from identity theft and protect your identity.
- If you receive a 1099-G for unemployment benefits that you didn't actually receive, request a corrected form. This notice with guidance was posted by the IRS.