Eagle County Sheriff’s Office reports rise in unemployment fraud claims
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has received an unusually high number of reports regarding false claims of unemployment benefits where unknown persons are using personal information to file unemployment claims.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment states “With the rise in unemployment insurance claims associated with COVID-19, nationally there has been a rise in fraudulent claims and other instances of fraud.” If you receive a “ReliaCard debit card or other paperwork” from CDLE and have not filed a claim, you are urged to report it on the CDLE website and to follow the five steps at cdle.colorado.gov/fraud-prevention.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the community to never give out personally identifiable information over the phone. The CDLE will never contact you by phone to ask for your social security number, bank account numbers, your PIN, account passwords or any other personally identifiable information.
In a recent Colorado Sun article, (Jan. 7) Phil Spesshardt, the Department of Labor’s benefits services manager, states that the labor department “discovered fraudsters are using rental and for-sale home listings to get addresses and maybe stopping by to steal unopened mail.” It is recommended that property owners regularly check their mailboxes for ReliaCards and report fraud to the state. The state is also adding more anti-fraud controls to their regular unemployment system.
Scammers will continue attempting to gain access to personal accounts and asking for your personal information. Scammers are known to contact you by phone, email, tech support, texts, internet and also posing as officials from local, state and federal agencies and local businesses. Scams can be difficult to recognize and usually end with a stranger gaining access to personal information, financial accounts and even trying to convince you to purchase gift cards to send as payments. These scammers can leave families and individuals short thousands of dollars.
“A reminder for all of Eagle County residents to stay vigilant especially during this difficult global health crisis and to keep alert that a variety of scams are continuing to cause officials concern,” the Sheriff’s Office says in a news release.
Officials remind the community to never provide financial or personal information to anyone over the phone and to visit http://www.ic3.gov to report any type of internet, computer or phone call scams that seem suspicious or threatening. If something seems suspicious, hang up and call directly to a trusted source or local agency for confirmation or further information.
The Federal Trade Commission states that “a caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.” Other types of scams can be a “refund” or “warranty” scam call when someone calls to ask if you were happy with a service. When you say you weren’t, the scammer offers a refund. Instead of returning money into your account, they withdraw money.
“Scams are more common today than ever and we urge you to educate yourself before they target you and your family,” the Sheriff’s Office announcement says.
For a complete list of the most current and common scams that include coronavirus scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.
To report internet crimes and fraud, go to http://www.ic3.gov.