Identity Theft Scam Affects Woman's Unemployment

By: Kendra Potter Email
By: Kendra Potter Email

11 News was the first to tell you about a scam; bad guys using your social security number to land a job. Then they pay as little as they can in taxes, leaving you holding the bag.

Now, it’s hurting a Pueblo victim in another way.

It has been nothing but terrifying for Margaret Cass, after receiving a letter claiming she had been lying about her unemployment.

“There are day that I just sit and cry,” said Cass.

Someone has been using Cass’ name and social security number to work. Because of this, Cass has been denied her unemployment benefits.

“According to their records I've been working for two different jobs, and this person has made X amount of dollars and its showing up as fraud,” said Cass.

Its money she and her husband simply can’t live without, after she lost her job for medical reasons in 2010.

"I began feeling like people were thinking I was a thief. I was trying to get money I didn't deserve, I was just plain lying,” said Cass.

And just when Cass thought it couldn’t get any worse, she received another letter. This one demanding she pay back the unemployment checks she did get.

So far they have asked for $2500 in reimbursements. That number could go up, since the identity thief has been working under her name since last summer..

What else is gonna happen? You have no clue what they are gonna do with the Social Security number or how they got it. Where do I go? Who do I talk to? Is there anybody out there that can help me?

Cass tells 11 News she has contacted every agency she can think of, and that’s it’s been a nightmare. She wishes there was one agency dedicated to helping her prove her own identity.

Cass says she first became aware of a possible problem around last summer. Her unemployment agency said someone had filed that they were working under her social security number. Cass says the agency told her it must be a “clerical error” and to not worry about it.

Now around six months later that same person used her identity for a different job that pays significantly more. This caught the eye of the agency and the Department of Labor and Employment.

Cass received a letter that she was denied her extended state unemployment checks in January. She got her last unemployment check early January.

Then in late January she received another letter from the Department of Labor and Employment telling her she had to reimburse her unemployment benefits, since she was “working” and didn’t report it while receiving the checks. It said she needed to pay that money, or they would hold her federal tax refund.

The 58-year-old spent over 30 years of her life working at warehouses, and assembly plants, running forklifts, and carrying boxes. Then she contracted Shingles and could no longer lift the required 50 pounds, so she was let go from her job. She tells 11 News that she has had a hard time finding a job because all her experience is in one field, and because she can no longer work in that field, it’s been difficult.

Cass’ husband works a job that comes in strides and that he has to commute to Colorado Springs.

Cass has filed a police report in Pueblo and one in another city in Colorado where the identity thief is possibly working. She says she has talked to her unemployment agency, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and three credit agencies.

But she still feels that there is no one agency that can help her prove her own identity. She is begging for help, and hopes that someone can help her gain back control of her social security number.

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