DENVER (CBS4) – Rachel Hall had been unemployed from January until March when she was asked to verify her identity through ID.me. She tried several times to follow the instructions but was unsuccessful.

“I kept getting weird error code, error code, error code,” Hall explained.

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She tried to see what the error code meant, but couldn’t find any answers. She tried to contact the ID.me help desk via email but got no response.

She also tried reaching out to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for help.

(Credit: CBS)

“They’d say, ‘You know, I’m so sorry, you’re not the first person to look at this. Unfortunately, we are not trained on ID.me and do not have access to the inside so you have to work directly with ID.me for help, ”said Hall. “It was just circles.”

As a result of the unsuccessful verification attempts, Hall has not received unemployment benefits for a month.

“It’s aggravating,” said Hall. “I’ve got to the point where I have to get groceries and pay my car bill. I don’t want it to be repossessed or lost.”

She is not alone.

Terri Kirby couldn’t verify her identity with ID.me either. She is so frustrated that she wrote a formal complaint to the Colorado Attorney General.

“Shutting down services and then telling people they have to find out, and if they get stuck there is no one to reach out to, that’s unacceptable,” said Kirby.

Kirby is also pursuing legal options for a potential class action lawsuit against the state.

“My main intention is to prevent unemployment from unfairly cutting people’s benefits while working with a company that is not delivering the services they are supposed to be on time,” said Kirby. “The impact this has on your sanity … they want everyone to be looking for work and moving forward, and yet they are removing the very foundation that many, many, many people depend on to do so to be able to. “

Last week, the CDLE asked all applicants who had not previously verified their identities to do so in order to continue to receive benefits.

So far, according to the department, around 14% of applicants who attempt to verify their identities are unsuccessful and need help from a trusted referee video chat. The department wouldn’t say exactly how many people there are.

Kirby said the wait for her trusted referee video chat was five hours.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, do I just have to be available for the next five hours? “I had things on my calendar,” said Kirby. “So I passed my day and never heard a thing. I kept checking my emails and texts to see if anyone contacted me and I called unemployment insurance on Tuesday and I think I called twice on Wednesday and both times found out that there was nothing they could do . “

According to the CDLE, of the 1,134,126 applicants referred to ID.me since January, only 137,027 identities have been verified. The department believes this is because the majority of applicants are scammers.

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According to CDLE, more than $ 91 million in unemployment benefits have been released for legitimate applicants as a result of the ID.me verification system.

Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me, wrote in a statement that the company is “perfectly positioned to handle new claims volumes in dozens of states; However, as states run hundreds of thousands to millions of applicants through our system at the same time to review the accumulated applications, waiting times increase. “

The CEO also said the company is hiring more people to handle the volume.

“At the same time, we are actively defeating Russian attackers trying to bypass our face liveness technology, international crime from Uzbekistan and social engineering attacks from Nigeria,” he wrote. “We also fight global botnet attacks that attempt to take over an account. The fight against these professional attackers adds to the operational complexity. “

After CBS4 asked about Rachel Hall’s case, she received a call from ID.me and was able to verify her identity. She was told that she should be back on benefits until next week.

But she worries about potentially thousands of others who are still having problems.

“We shouldn’t have to go into the media,” she said. “The company should have seen this coming and they should have given a quicker response, although I am grateful that they were able to escalate my case and resolve my case so quickly that I am still very concerned about families who are not in the same position like me. “

If you’re having trouble verifying your identity, here are step-by-step instructions.

You can also try contacting ID.me right here.

If you are still having problems after trying these methods, contact CBS4 investigator Kati Weis at [email protected]

The following is ID.me’s entire written statement to CBS4:

“Almost 90% of applicants automatically pass ID.me on in a matter of minutes using a computer, phone and a few documents that most people would carry in their wallets. Those who cannot use the automated process – or those who have received false documents or copies of documents instead of originals – will be directed to the video chat process. It is important to note that ID.me is the only provider in the US that can verify identities via video chat. In states that do not partner with ID.me, those who have no credit history or no presence on record have no way of verifying their identity online.

We are currently working with more than 22 states, including Colorado, to tackle massive unemployment fraud. Video chat waiting times are increasing as several states, including Colorado, Nevada, Florida, and California, instantly send full year months worth of applicants through ID.me to combat fraud in existing application pools. ID.me is perfectly able to process new claims volumes in dozens of countries. However, as states run hundreds of thousands to millions of applicants through our system at the same time to review the accumulated applications, waiting times increase.

For new claims, we see fraud rates of over 30% for PUA claims (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance). Due to the high rate of fraud for new claims, many states want to ensure that no additional taxpayers’ money is lost, so ID.me is encouraging ID.me to screen all applicants – both new and existing applicants who have been receiving benefits since March. For backward debts, we see fraud rates north of 50%. This has meant that waiting times have increased.

At the same time, we are actively defeating Russian attackers trying to bypass our face liveness technology, international crime from Uzbekistan, and social engineering attacks from Nigeria. We are also fighting global botnet attacks that are attempting to hijack accounts. The fight against these professional attackers adds to the operational complexity.

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We understand the importance of these services and are working around the clock to help applicants. To support the influx of applicants, we are also hiring video chat staff, nearly 40 to 50 people per week, so we can help more applicants get their benefits as quickly as possible. I would also like to stress that we are the only company in the country that can remotely review people who are not on records. Individuals who fall into these categories in states that do not use ID.me have little or no recourse to prove their identity online. “