How scammers targeted Colorado’s unemployment system — and what the state is doing about it |

How scammers targeted Colorado’s unemployment system — and what the state is doing about it

The fallout of fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment continues into 2021 as Colorado victims, employers and legitimate people on unemployment deal with impostors.

Tamara Chuang
Colorado Sun
Get a ReliaCard from U.S. Bank in the mail? If you didn’t apply for unemployment benefits, it’s likely a fraudulent claim. Protect your ID by filing a fraud report form with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment at (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun)

Like many victims of unemployment fraud, Duane Thomas only learned that someone had used his identity to file for jobless benefits when a strange 1099-G tax document arrived in his mailbox last month.

He reported the mistake in an online form provided by the state Department of Labor and Employment. Within about three weeks, the state sent him a corrected 1099-G form to let him and the IRS know he wasn’t on the hook for taxes on $12,000 of benefits he never received. He also got an email from the agency acknowledging receipt.

But he’s clueless about how it could have even happened.

“I have no idea,” Thomas said.

Officials from the state Department of Labor and the Colorado Attorney General’s office, plus cybersecurity professionals shared what likely happened during an online broadcast this week.

Thomas’ personal data and millions of others — from home addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers — were compromised in recent and long-ago data breaches of well-known companies. That includes the 500,000 guest accounts pilfered during the Marriott International data breach in 2018 to the Equifax breach of 2017, when data on nearly every American with credit was exposed.

Read more from Tamara Chuang, Colorado Sun.

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