Fraudulent unemployment claims continue in Colorado, but 30% to 50% were stopped ‘at the front door’ |

Fraudulent unemployment claims continue in Colorado, but 30% to 50% were stopped ‘at the front door’

New unemployment claims for the first time last week dropped below the highest point of the Great Recession.

As some Coloradans report that they’ve received multiple unemployment benefits debit cards in the mail even though they hadn’t made a jobless claim, the state said it’s ramped up efforts to combat identity theft and thwart fraudulent activity that has bombarded unemployment offices nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Based on a number of characteristics, which I’m not going to elaborate on but that have been designed in house as well as leveraged from state partners and national law enforcement, 30% to 50% of those are being stopped to the front door — before they are filed,” said Jeff Fitzgerald, the state Department of Labor and Employment’s unemployment insurance director.  “This is not unusual, with regards to the activity nationally. If anything, other states are getting more.”

The state expanded its fraud investigation unit and tapped into the Suspicious Actor Repository, a national database where state workforce agencies share suspicious candidates. An upgrade to the system this week allows new claims to be checked quickly against the database to see if the claimant filed in other states or is suspected of fraud. About 10,000 claims were adjusted in June and July after they were deemed fraudulent.

But there are other reasons why fraud should be on the decline. Since the $600 weekly federal benefit ended July 25, there’s less incentive to make one claim that could be backdated to February and get thousands of dollars in one fell swoop. There’s also been a decline in the number of folks filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which was the program targeted by ID thieves 

New claims by this group of self-employed workers dropped 22% in a week to 7,585 for the week ended Aug. 1.

Read the rest of the story at The Colorado Sun.

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