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Colorado labor department software flags thousands of claims

January 11, 2021 GMT

DENVER (AP) — A fraud detection program included in upgraded Colorado Department of Labor and Employment software has flagged thousands of unemployment benefits requests as suspicious.

After the department completed the installation Sunday, the anti-fraud system flagged about 20% of approximately 32,000 claims for payment, Colorado Public Radio reports.

The system looks for 27 attributes of suspicious accounts, ranging from claimants who are older than 100 to people listed as deceased in public records, the department said.

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Payments are frozen to accounts with several of the “triggers,” the department said.

The labor department has used the anti-fraud component for months in one unemployment program, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. But with the system-wide upgrade, the measures will be applied to the entire unemployment program.

Millions of dollars in payments to criminal groups could be stopped, but there is also a possibility of temporary suspension of benefits to an unknown number of people wrongly caught in the software-powered net.

“It is going to be critical to us to stop the bleeding of fraudulent activity within the regular UI system, but what it’s going to mean is that some innocent claimants are likely to be caught up,” labor department Deputy Executive Director Cher Roybal Haavind said.