These FAQs have been developed by the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) to assist State of Colorado employees in addressing potential fraudulent unemployment claims made in their name. Employers across the country and throughout Colorado have seen a dramatic increase in fraudulent unemployment claims. The U.S. government issued special unemployment benefits following the shut down of many industries due to COVID-19. When these benefits were announced, fraudsters recognized an opportunity and began filing fraudulent claims in the name of current and former employees of both public and private employers across the country. Fraudsters used data mined from the dark web and began filing claims at a very rapid rate. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has received over one million potentially fraudulent claims and continues to investigate them.
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud contact your financial institution and follow guidance from answers to questions below.
- Q: What does that State Office of Risk Management have to do with unemployment claims for state employees?
A: SORM manages the vendor responsible for processing all unemployment claims made by state employees. CDLE is responsible for managing unemployment trust funds, and paying on all compensable unemployment claims, including those for state employees.
- Q: How do I know if a claim was filed in my name?
A: A claim was likely filed in your name if you did not make an unemployment claim, but received any of the following at home or work:
- A PIN letter, VISA card, or other claim documentation from CDLE
- Claim information with another name at your home address
- A 1099-G tax form indicating unemployment benefits received in 2020
- Report the receipt of a 1099-G and an amended, $0 1099 will be issued to you for tax purposes
- An overpayment letter or any other information from CDLE
Report any suspected fraudulent claims to CDLE Fraud Prevention.
Note: You may still be the victim of fraud if you received unemployment benefits in 2020, but the information in any of the documents referenced above is inconsistent with your records. Be sure to compare documents to your records and notify CDLE if you find inconsistencies between your records and documents.
- Q: Where did the fraudsters get my information?
A:There is no evidence of a breach of state data from any agency. While the answer to this question is unknown, it is believed that the data was mined from recent data breaches including credit reporting agencies and other breaches over the last two years.
- Q: What should I do to protect my personal information?
A:You should consider placing a "fraud alert" on your name and social security number (SSN) with each one of the credit bureaus listed below (it is free).
You should also request a free copy of your credit report from each bureau for review. If you find anything in your credit report that is not yours, you should dispute it directly with the credit bureau(s). Also, if you see an inquiry from another Department of Labor in another state, there is a good chance there is a fraudulent unemployment claim in that State and you will want to contact that State’s unemployment division.
- Experian.com/help 888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
- TransUnion.com/credit-help 888-909-8872
- Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services 800-685-1111
Note: These may be automated systems which will require you to enter your personal information, but each system should give a prompt for adding a fraud alert to your account. If you do speak to a live representative, you will need to verify your personal information and answer questions to confirm your identity. You should also be prompted to request a copy of your credit report.
It is suggested that employees and former employees start a file or folder to keep everything together. This way in case new information comes to light in the future, the employee will have all relevant documents in one, accessible location
- Q: How long should I keep a fraud alert on my accounts?
A: The standard recommendation is one year, if no further fraudulent activity is noted during that time.
- Q: What should I do long term to keep my identity information safe?
A: Regularly check your credit report. The recommendation is quarterly. Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection program. Continue to keep your personal information in safe and secure storage.
- Q: If an unemployment claim was processed through the State’s third party vendor was it actually processed or just submitted by the fraudster?
A: With changes made to claim processing in March 2021, no benefits will automatically be paid until the claim is verified. This means that the claim was simply submitted. In claims made prior to March 2021 some benefits may have been sent to the fraudster and/or to the employee’s address on file.
- Q: What additional resources are available to combat identity theft?
A: Additional resources include: