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Posted on: January 19, 2021

Watch Out for False Unemployment Claims

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Aspen PD Sees Increase in Fraudulent Unemployment Claims
Caution Advised Regarding Identity Theft

The Aspen Police Department reports a rise in unemployment fraud since this past summer, hitting a peak this month. Between January 1 and 15, 2021, 16 complaints of false unemployment claims have been reported by Aspen residents, equating to an average of one per day. 

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE), the increase in reports of unemployment insurance fraud is likely connected to the expiration of CARES Act programs (CDLE, 2021). 

“The Aspen Police Department is aware that this is part of a national trend where criminal enterprises use stolen personal information, most likely stolen in large database hacks, to file these unemployment claims,” reports Bill Linn, Assistant Chief with the Aspen Police Department. “Aspen residents are encouraged to be cautious of identity theft.”

The scam works like this: The criminal files an unemployment claim with the State of Colorado pretending to be the victim and hoping to use the benefits for their criminal enterprise. A common sign of fraud a victim might see is receiving a state benefit “Reliacard” debit card or other unemployment paperwork from the CDLE. 

“If you have not filed an unemployment claim with the CDLE and receive benefit information, you need to call us,” says Linn.

If a resident finds themselves a victim of fraud or identity theft, the CDLE recommends taking the following steps:  

  1. Deactivate any cards that might be tied to the fraudulent encounter. 
  2. Contact one of three credit reporting agencies:
    1. Equifax at 1-800-525-6285
    2. Experian at 1-888-397-3742
    3. TransUnion at 1-800-680-7289
  3. File a police report with the Aspen Police Department at AspenPolice.com, or 970.920.5400. 
  4. Report identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.Gov. 
  5. Create a file where you can keep any records of fraud.  

Linn adds as a general reminder, “Unless you have made the call, never share your personal information with someone over the phone, and always call us if you think a contact seems fraudulent.”

 

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