GREEN VALLEY RANCH, Colo. — Monica Newman says each week that passes puts her closer to a deadline.
“I feel stressed out. I’m having panic attacks at night just thinking about how I’m going to cover these bills the next month,” Newman said.
Newman’s account is one of the thousands on hold due to fraud suspicion, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
“As of July 1, our system showed that 4,310 claimants are still on hold as a result of continued suspicion of fraud,” an agency spokesperson said during a press call on July 16.
In late May, Newman said when she was unexpectedly laid off from her teaching job. She sought unemployment benefits to no avail.
“It says my account it locked. It’s been that way since December,” she said.
Newman said in December, a fraudulent unemployment claim was filed for her while she was still employed.
Now that she’s unemployed, her account is still locked from the previous fraud attempt.
“I’m waiting for what is the next step to unlock my account,” Newman said.
CDLE provided the following statement regarding Newman’s ongoing issues:
“We are looking into Miss Newman’s claim. It is possible she may be a legitimate claimant who has had her claim hijacked by a fraudster. We talked about this type of scam on our press call this morning. We have escalated Miss Newman’s investigation, but this involves a manual investigation to determine if she is indeed a victim of a scam.”
The agency said the length of a manual investigation can vary depending on case complexity and the responsiveness of the claimant.
“I got a phone call last Saturday from an agent to ask me for some information, and they said you have to wait,” Newman said.
CDLE said they are making progress using fraud analytics to clear less suspicious accounts “en masse.”