Aspen police: Watch for unemployment fraud, identity theft |

Aspen police: Watch for unemployment fraud, identity theft

Area has seen an uptick in false claims since start of year

Unemployment fraud is on the rise in Aspen and local police are warning residents to be on the lookout for suspicious activity that might indicate identity theft.

Aspen police said in a news release Tuesday the fraud has been increasing since the summer, but hit a peak this month when between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15 the department received 16 complaints about false claims.

“According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the increase in reports of unemployment insurance fraud is likely connected to the expiration of CARES Act programs,” the release states.

If someone files a fake unemployment claim, the real person might receive a state benefit “Reliacard” debit card or other unemployment correspondence from the state labor department, according to the release.

Should that happen, residents should file a police report ( or 970.920.5400), deactivate the debit card, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies, report identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission at IdentityTheft.Gov and keep any records of fraud.

“The Aspen Police Department is aware that this is part of a national trend where criminal enterprises use stolen personal information, most likely stolen in database hacks, to file these unemployment claims,” said Bill Linn, assistant police chief. “If you have not filed an unemployment claim with the (state labor department) and receive benefit information, you need to call us.”

Linn also cautioned residents against sharing personal information with people over the phone.

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