NewsNews5 Investigates


Business owner says fake unemployment claims are stacking up at his office

50 unemployment mailers arrived for random people
Unemployment fraud mail stacking up at local business
Posted at 4:45 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:18:41-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — We continue to follow up on evidence of unemployment fraud popping up in our communities. News5 heard from a Colorado Springs business owner who says more suspicious unemployment mail is piling up at his office.

Over the last two months a local business owner says roughly 50 pieces of unemployment benefits mail has arrived at his business in Colorado Springs. The names on the mail are people he's never even heard of.

Brett Axton's office for his business Rocky Mountain Roosters is located in an industrial area not too far from Fillmore and Nevada in Colorado Springs. He showed News5 the unemployment benefits mail that continues to come in and the mail that just arrived at his office in the last couple of days. He says surrounding businesses are seeing this mail coming in too. The names appear to be random and are not tied to former employees.

Trying to get direction from the state's unemployment office has been difficult and he wanted to speak with News5 because he has major concerns.

"They are overwhelmed I'm sure. We've called and have tried to find out how to handle this and what to do with this mail and we don't get a lot of direction on this except now to destroy it, which is fine. But when you are getting dozens of pieces a week and everyone else in this neighborhood is getting dozens of pieces It's just exponential," said Axton. "What's that doing for the real numbers for unemployment in Colorado? Those aren't real numbers."

In our previous reporting on this, we told you that investigators at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment believe fraudsters are stealing identities and are having this mail sent to addresses in the name of victims where they might be able to steal the mail containing bank cards and pin numbers.

Once they have those items they can drain the unemployment benefit funds.

Axton says one of the mailers that showed up at his business was evidence that fraudsters used his name too.

"It starts to really bring it home when it is you. It's really from the Department of Unemployment with my social security number and my address and my personal data," said Axton. "This is major crime. When we pay unemployment as we do on all of our employees, they need to be able to get that when they deserve it. To have it taken from them and taking it from our state coffers, that's a huge crime that you can never get back. So stop it!"

Please remember if you have unemployment benefits mail show up in your name it's so important to file a fraud claim with the state.

News5 is now learning you may also get a tax form asking you to pay taxes on those unemployment benefits you never requested or collected. Experts say making sure you file fraud reports are an important part of navigating these challenges.

Here is a link provided by the State of Colorado to help anyone who has received this unexpected piece of mail:

UPDATE: Some people may also be getting unexpected tax forms tied to unemployment fraud. Here's where you can report that: