Denver, Colorado 2021-03-04 15:26:21 –
The Colorado Attorney General, the Colorado Department of Investigation, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and the district attorneys throughout the state are working together to prevent and prosecute a surge in personal information theft cases related to the state’s unemployment insurance program.
“We need to chase these scammers. At a joint press conference on Thursday announcing the creation of the Colorado Unemployment Scam Task Force, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said.
The State Department of Labor has reported about 1.1 million unemployment allowances as fraud since the pandemic began, which exceeds the number of legitimate claims made in the state, said Secretary-General Joe Barrera. Said.
Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, the state investigated about 90 suspected unemployment insurance fraud cases.
According to Barrera, federal and state funding has avoided a potential loss of about $ 7.5 billion. However, the Ministry of Labor estimates that fraudsters are claiming about $ 6.5 million, of which authorities have recovered $ 1 million.
The circle of crimes organized in Russia, Nigeria and other countries is believed to be behind many false allegations, making it difficult for local law enforcement agencies to track cases. Fraudsters are believed to have purchased identity information on the dark web that was stolen during past cybersecurity breaches and used it to file complaints in multiple states.
However, some of the theft of personal information has occurred locally, including those who are already in jail and who consider it a crime of opportunity. Out-of-state scammers may recruit local participants to divert unemployed debit cards, Weiser said. He said those individuals need to be aware that they are not safe from prosecution.
Mailing the first debit card to the address of the recipient who did not file the claim is an important way to tip the State Department of Labor that someone has stolen your personal information and made a false claim. Employers also represent an important line of defense in detecting fraudulent claims within the state’s traditional unemployment system.
According to Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King, using someone else’s identity to claim unemployment benefits is a class 4 felony and can result in imprisonment of two to four years.
If the fraud is committed by a large organization and violates extortion or organized crime law, the penalties will be much more severe.
King said falsely claiming unemployment benefits is not a victimless crime. Victims of personal information theft can destroy their credit scores, struggle to get financial support for college children, divert tax refunds, and apply for social security benefits years later. Sometimes you may run into problems.
“Everything gets harder. There are really long-term consequences,” she said.
The wave of crime also complicates the lives of those who justify unemployment benefits. They can get caught up in stricter security measures and delay receiving the money they desperately need to meet the bill.
Weiser urged individuals and employers to take the crime seriously and not give up on reporting fraud. Website managed by the Ministry of Labor..
“Everyone is at risk in all parts of our state. The consequences of being a victim of personal information theft can be serious. We allow these scammers We will keep track of it in the best possible way, “he said.
Colorado law enforcement joining forces to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud – The Denver Post Source link Colorado law enforcement joining forces to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud – The Denver Post