By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is now requiring more Coloradans to verify their identity through the ID.me system, saying they’re seeing an uptick in fraudulent claims. It comes after the CDLE said it’s already flagged more than 1 million claims.

(credit: CBS)

CBS4 found victims of unemployment fraud who report their name was fraudulently used will likely not receive any correspondence from the CDLE confirming the fraud claim has been addressed.

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“We understand how unsettling this experience can be,” a spokesperson for the department said in an email to CBS4. “While the current volume of fraud reports prevents us from following up individually on every report, our fraud investigators are taking immediate steps to close each fraudulent claim. Since the start of the pandemic, we have tripled the size of our criminal investigative team, with another set of hiring happening now.”

The department said it is working to address the issue.

Colorado Office of Employment in Denver (credit: CBS)

“We are also working on delivering a formal letter that fraud victims can save for their records and share with creditors should they need it,” the CDLE spokesperson said. “We will be sending these to both individuals and employers who have reported fraud to us.”

Susan Schebler is one of many Coloradans who have fallen victim to unemployment fraud. Even though she has never filed for unemployment, she received an unemployment debit card in the mail in the fall.

She reported the fraud to police, her bank, and credit bureaus, and she filled out the proper forms on the CDLE website.

Susan Schebler (credit: CBS)

Despite all of her efforts, she got an unsettling letter in February.

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“I got a demand for payment from the 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,” Schebler said.

Worried, she tried calling again, but still couldn’t get through, saying she would be on hold for extended periods of time, only to be told there are no appointments available.

“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,” Schebler said. “And then, of course I’m worried that it’s going to happen again. So, it wasn’t really successful stopping it from happening the first time and so I worry that there’s going to be more of these letters coming, and there’s no one to call, there’s no one who can help.”

CBS4 inquired about Schebler’s case, and the CDLE said her claim has been confirmed as fraudulent, that she won’t owe any money, nor will she need to be concerned about anything for her taxes.

The department said what Schebler received demanding payment was automated correspondence that the department is working to curtail.

“After reporting the fraud, individuals can ignore any future correspondence in regards to the fraudulent claim,” a spokesperson for the CDLE said. “We are actively trying to cease any automated correspondence that goes out once a claim has been confirmed fraud. With the influx in fraud, we don’t always stop those additional letters from going out. Needless to say, if the claim is confirmed to be fraudulent, the victim won’t owe any overpayments.”

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If you have received a notice that someone has filed for unemployment in your name, you can report the fraud here: cdle.colorado.gov/fraud-prevention.

Kati Weis