Investigating and prosecuting fraud is a high priority for the Division of Unemployment Insurance. Unfortunately, with the rise in unemployment insurance claims associated with COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has also seen a rise in fraudulent claims and other instances of fraud. CDLE is tracking a new fraud scheme involving unemployment claims that are filed using another person's identity. If you received a U.S. Bank ReliaCard in the mail and have not filed for unemployment, please read the following guidance.
Protect Yourself Against Fraud.
TIP: Never give out personally identifiable information over the phone. CDLE will never contact you and ask for your social security number (SSN), bank account numbers, your PIN, account passwords, or any other personally identifiable information.
What You Need To Know
Human Resources received the following information from a criminal investigator with the Colorado Department of Labor.
- This scam is widespread and they suspect the criminals are not stealing mail, but working to get PIN numbers the state uses to pay out benefits.
- Most likely the scams are originating out of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
- The information the criminals have probably came from a large data breach in the last 10 years (Equifax, Target, Hilton, etc.) and has been sold on the dark web.
- Victims need to file police reports and lock down their accounts and credit files.
What to do if you believe someone is using your identity to collect unemployment benefits?
- If you received unemployment paperwork but did not file a claim, or otherwise believe you are a victim of identity theft related to unemployment benefits, please submit a fraud report.
- Note: This form was created by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). For questions on how to complete the form, please visit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website.
- File a police report with the municipal police department where you reside.
- Contact Employee Relations and they will report your name to the state as someone who has not applied for unemployment assistance.
Additionally, there are several recommended steps to follow:
- If you received a U.S. Bank Reliacard for Colorado unemployment benefits but did not file a claim, contact U.S. Bank immediately at 1-855-279-1678. Tell them that 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). It 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.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- It is important to regularly review your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus. Each will look different and may contain different information. If you discover any incorrect or fraudulent information on your credit report, you should dispute it with the credit bureau directly. Normally, you can receive one free copy of your credit report each year from each credit bureau. Due to increased fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, each of the three credit bureaus is offering free weekly credit reports via annualcreditreport.com.
- It is also recommended that you file a police report. You can file a "counter report" with your local police department. As a victim, you have the right to file this report. It doesn’t 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 at identitytheft.gov. The FTC’s website includes valuable resources about how to recover from identity theft and protect your identity.
- Lastly, create a file where you can keep any records relating to this identity theft in one central place, in case you are notified of other fraud or breaches of your personal information.
For more information regarding unemployment fraud prevention, please visit the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website.