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DENVER -- When Ted Kaczmarek checked his mail recently, he was shocked to see a 1099 tax form for his wife — not only because her name was spelled wrong, but because she passed away in 2013.
"I looked at it, I shook my head. Couldn’t believe it," said Kaczmarek.
The document shows $1947.00 worth of unemployment benefits were collected in his wife's name. At first, Kaczmarek wasn't sure what to do with the form but he remembered seeing a story about unemployment fraud on the news.
"Somebody is getting this money that shouldn’t be getting it," said Kaczmarek.
He called the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to find out what steps he should take but the phone call only led to more confusion.
"I was getting nowhere with him, he kept saying you got to go online, gotta have an email, I have none of this stuff and he went back and forth with his boss," said Kaczmarek.
Kaczmarek is a retired bus driver and Army veteran. He's never owned a computer and he doesn't have an email address, which proved to be problematic when he tried to report the fraud.
"I said, sir, I don’t have an email. He said, 'Well, I can’t fill out the form for you,' and that’s where I was real frustrated, and that was the end of the conversation. I said if you can’t help me I don’t know what else I’m going to do," Kaczmarek.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, you may be a victim of identity theft if you received a 1099-G and did not file an unemployment claim. CDLE is encouraging those people to take the following steps:
- File a report using the Report Invalid 1099 form.
- Contact the three consumer credit bureaus in order to put a fraud alert on your name and Social Security Number.
- Keep all records of identity theft.
Kaczmarek has no way of filling out the online form and he worries about others who might not be tech savvy enough to file a fraud report.
"I know there’s probably more than just one senior citizen out here that don’t have a computer, and there’s people with disabilities or something that can’t afford a computer," said Kaczmarek.
Contact Denver7 reached out to a spokesperson for CDLE to ask if someone could help Kaczmarek resolved this issue.
"All I want to do is get this straightened out because I bet there’s people out there with these forms that don’t know what to do with them, because I didn’t know what to do," Kaczmarek.