Colorado Unemployment Fraud
What Is Colorado unemployment fraud?
Colorado unemployment fraud is when an applicant knowingly provides false information as part of their Colorado unemployment application or their weekly unemployment insurance claims. Those found guilty of unemployment fraud face serious consequences, so it’s important to understand what constitutes fraud so that you can avoid it. Colorado has seen increased fraud in recent years, which is concerning. Fraudulent claims keep essential unemployment benefits out of the hands of the Colorado residents who need them the most.
Examples of claimants committing fraud
There are several actions that constitute unemployment fraud. For example, a claimant may under-report employment and earnings in weekly certifications or fail to report them at all. Other fraudulent behaviors include claiming unemployment insurance benefits in multiple states, falsifying the reason for losing employment, failing to look for work and reporting false work search activities, or failing to report refusal of work.
Many of these behaviors will result in an overpayment of benefits, which must be paid back to the state. The most egregious type of unemployment fraud is identity theft, which is when someone uses another person’s information to establish Colorado unemployment eligibility and submit a fraudulent claim.
How do I return an overpayment?
If you have received an unemployment insurance benefits overpayment from the state of Colorado, it’s important to return the overpayment as quickly as possible. You should receive a notice from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment alerting you to the overpayment and outlining the process of repaying what you owe. At that point, you may ask for an appeal if you feel you’ve received this notice in error, or you may contact the state to work out a repayment plan. Or, you may be required to repay the full amount.
Penalties for claimants committing fraud
Unemployment fraud carries stiff penalties in Colorado, and finding and prosecuting unemployment fraud across the state is a key priority. Those found guilty of unemployment fraud will be required to repay the full amount of any overpayment, plus a 65% penalty. In most cases, those who commit fraud will be ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits in the future. In some cases, criminal charges may be filed which could result in jail time.
What is a Colorado UI program integrity hold?
A Colorado UI program identity hold may be placed on your unemployment insurance application if fraudulent activity is suspected – it’s essentially a fraud alert. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment uses a sophisticated system to analyze each claim for markers that could indicate unemployment insurance fraud.
If your application is flagged, you will see this documented within your MyUI+ account. Once you log in to file your weekly claim, select View and Maintain Account Information, then Issues and Determinations. If there is a program integrity hold on your application, you will see Program Integrity listed as the issue type. You also should be notified of your program integrity hold by mail.
If you see an integrity hold on your account, contact the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment immediately. You may reach them at 303-536-5615, Monday–Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. When you call, you may request that a ticket be submitted for a program integrity issue. Within a few days, you will receive an email outlining the next steps you should take. You can also fill out Colorado’s online form if you believe the hold on your account has been placed in error.
How to report Colorado unemployment fraud
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment asks that if you suspect that you are a fraud victim, you make a fraud report using the state’s online reporting form. When you complete the fraud report, keep in mind that it’s helpful to be as specific as possible – the more information you can provide, the more successful the state is likely to be in both finding and deterring unemployment insurance fraud.
Identity theft is a serious crime in which someone uses another individual’s personal information in order to fraudulently carry out financial activity. This can include opening bank accounts, using credit cards, and even submitting a claim for unemployment insurance benefits.
If you believe that someone is fraudulently using your personal information for unemployment benefits, you should use the state of Colorado’s online form immediately to make a fraud report. You should also file a police report and submit a report through the Federal Trade Commission.
What is ID.me?
The state of Colorado has partnered with ID.me to verify the identity of users who log into the state’s user platform. ID.me is a federally certified identity provider that specializes in digital identity protection. The use of the ID.me platform helps the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment make sure that claimants are exactly who they say they are before the department grants access to personal information or begins issuing benefit payments. This is a huge step toward the prevention of unemployment fraud and identity theft.
Everyone who submits a claim online can quickly and easily set up an account through ID.me. All Colorado residents who receive unemployment benefits are required to verify their identity through ID.me, no matter the method they use to submit their initial claim.
How to protect your personal information
While the thought of having your personal information stolen and used for unemployment fraud can be daunting, there are plenty of actions you can take to help protect your personal information.
First, you should be hesitant to share personal or financial information with anyone. Never give out information over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call. In addition, you should make sure to guard your Social Security number. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place and don’t carry it around in your wallet or have your Social Security number printed on your checks or any other documents.
You should also steer clear of responding to any emails or pop-up messages indicating a problem with a credit card or bank account. Instead, call your financial institution directly to verify whether there is really a problem. If you use online financial accounts, make sure to password protect them, using strong passwords. It’s also a good practice to use a cross-cut shredder to shred all personal and financial documents when you’re finished with them.