COLORADO SPRINGS — Since the start of the year News5 has worked to uncover the details behind massive amounts of unemployment fraud impacting people in our state and the challenges some of our neighbors are facing trying to get benefits after losing their jobs during the pandemic. One viewer tells us he's frustrated after experiencing both challenges.
News5 is still getting emails every week from viewers who have either received fake unemployment claims in their name, or they are struggling to get benefits. The issues are so widespread, we now have evidence some people are having to deal with both headaches.
Colorado Springs resident Nick Sabatello tells News5 back in January he got a call from his employer saying a fraudster had somehow gotten their hands on his personal information and filed a fake unemployment claim in his name.
"My identity was stolen to the point where someone claimed unemployment for myself. Well, I was obviously still working with the employer. So, they did their part to rectify the theft. They told me to do my portion to issue a fraud alert and going through the credit check and all that, which I did," Sabatello said.
As the economic impact of the pandemic raged on, Sabatello says a few weeks later he had another unexpected experience, his company was suffering and he lost his job.
"So I went through the process of applying for unemployment and every time I went in to give my social security and password, the password didn't work, I went to reset it and never got an email back and that happened for several days," said Sabatello.
After first attempting to secure unemployment benefits from the state back on February 3rd, Sabatello says he's frustrated as he's tried to get assistance day after day and he's still waiting for someone to help him secure unemployment benefits.
"It's a vicious circle of the same three phone numbers, different people and the same story, nothing gets done and it goes in a black hole. I think the system is a joke," Sabatello told News5. "They are just falling on the excuse of we're overwhelmed and that doesn't work for my bills. My bills aren't overwhelmed I mean, I still have to pay them".
After contacting News5 Sabatello was advised he needed to take the steps to verify his identity through the state's ID.ME form.
If you too are waiting on benefits and haven't done this, labor officials say this might be what is holding things up,so you too should fill out this form.
Sabatello now says he hopes he's finally on the verge of getting those crucial unemployment benefits.
"I definitely appreciate News5 in terms of what they're doing, again how you guys do your deeper dive. I mean, you are featuring real people," said Sabatello.
He says he hopes state leaders understand just how challenging this experience has been.
"I almost want them to go through the process themselves and see if they can get through. To see what they're putting the regular public through, the hoops and to say you know what this isn't working, let's fix it. There's go to be a way," Sabatello added.
Stick with News5 on this story as we continue to work to track down more information to help those of you who have been impacted by this.
If you need to report fraud, or need to access the state form to verify your identity, please visit the links posted below...
For confirming your identity with the state to help with CDLE and unemployment benefits:
Here is a link provided by the State of Colorado to help anyone who has received this unexpected piece of mail: https://cdle.colorado.gov/fraud-prevention
Some people may also be getting unexpected tax forms tied to the unemployment fraud. Here's where you can report that: https://co.tfaforms.net/f/Report_Invalid_1099