Editor's note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at email@example.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.
DENVER — Robert Perrich retired several years ago, which is why he was puzzled when a tax form showed up in the mail stating he received more than $5,000 in unemployment benefits.
"I never applied for unemployment, and I never received any funds," Perrich said. "Where did the money go? If it was dispersed, who received that money?"
Contact Denver7 has received multiple reports from viewers who reached out to ask for help after receiving a 1099-G in the mail showing they collected unemployment benefits, even though they never saw a dime.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has received 11,067 reports of tax forms tied to a fraudulent unemployment claim. As of Friday, Feb. 26, the state has sent out 2,463 corrected forms.
"We're working to send these out as quickly as possible with respect to tax season," a spokesperson for the department said.
Contact Denver7 has reported on rampant fraud in the unemployment system. If you received a fraudulent 1099-G, it likely means your personal information, including your social security number, was stolen. The state is encouraging potential victims of fraud to contact the three consumer credit bureaus to put a fraud alert on their name and social security number.
"If they don’t report it, they’re going to get a, I call them nasty grams from the IRS," said Richard Rothman, a Denver tax professional with several clients who experienced the same issue.
Ted Kaczmarek reached out to Contact Denver7 in January when he received a tax form showing his wife collected more than $1,900 worth of unemployment. His wife passed away in 2013, and he was about to throw the documents out.
After the story aired, state officials helped Kaczmarek resolve the situation so he doesn't have to worry about the IRS.
"I'm so thankful to Denver7. I don't know what you did," Kaczmarek said.
Perrich has a meeting with his CPA in a few days and hopes he can sort everything out before then.
"Certainly they need to resolve this," Perrich said. "I’m hopeful that they will and in a reasonable amount of time and in an appropriate manner."