Colorado investigates thousands of fraudulent unemployment claims

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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment says the amount of fraudulent unemployment claims filed has increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cher Havvind, the spokesperson for the department, said they have created a website to help people identify fraud and know what to do if they think they are a victim.

Department officials say that most of the suspected fraudulent cases are pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) claims. These particular cases do not have the same fraud detection as regular claims would since this type of assistance is rather new and was created quickly.

PUA claims are specifically for self-employed and gig workers who need assistance during the pandemic.

Havvind said overall the number of pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) claims have dropped because the department implemented a number of fraud detection measures last week.

Havvind also believes the fraud cases may be a result of victims having their identity stolen years ago, and the fraudsters are now trying to take advantage of this type of assistance with their identities.

“We have thousands of leads and tips we are trying to investigate,” Havvind said.

This is the first week unemployment claims dropped below 10,000 in Colorado in three months, with 9,882 claimed filed for the week ending June 20. In the past 14 weeks, 588,988 claims have been filed.

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