Seminar focuses on fake documents

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If you go

What: How to Detect Fraudulent Documents seminar

When: 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: The Colorado Workforce Center at 879-3075 to RSVP or for more information

— Advice on how employers can better spot fake documents is the topic of a roundtable discussion at Centennial Hall on Tuesday.

David Smith of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will lead the discussion, which is sponsored by the local Colorado Workforce Center and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and is scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Jackie Mitchell, an employment specialist at the workforce center, said the center likes to hold four employer workshops a year. This is the second one in a row dealing with foreign labor, underscoring concerns resulting from an increase of undocumented workers in Colorado.

The first workshop, held in September, focused on a new law, House Bill 1017, that went into effect last year and mandates new employment verification requirements that go beyond the federal statutes most employers are familiar with. Mitchell said Tuesday's seminar is based on the fact that some employers hoped to hear more about fake documents at the September event.

"We got a really big feedback on fraudulent documents," Mitchell said Thursday.

Fraudulent documents will be the sole focus of Tuesday's seminar. There will even be real examples of fake documents on hand.

"Just so they can see them, touch them, feel them and get an idea what they look like," Mitchell said.

Before the September seminar, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Executive Director Tracy Barnett, a former restaurant owner, talked about the difficulty of detecting fraudulent documents.

"A green card doesn't look like a green card," she said. "Most of us have never seen these things. We don't know what the official papers are supposed to look like. It would be very easy to get a fake by, even if you do your due diligence."

Sheriff's Office Investigator Ken Klinger said it's not uncommon for area law enforcement officers to come across fake documents.

"We see an awful lot of fake driver's licenses," Klinger said Thursday. "We encounter these on a fairly regular basis."

Also, in investigating identity theft cases, Klinger said he finds people "living all over the place who have the same identical social security number."

In addition to educating employers, the workforce center also assists job seekers. Job seekers must register with the workforce center with a social security number, and Mitchell said the center often has instances of people who leave without registering when they learn about that requirement.

Those who want to attend Tuesday's workshop should RSVP by calling 879-3075, e-mailing jacquelyn.mitchell@cwfc.net, or faxing 879-3574. The deadline to RSVP is today but Mitchell said there should be enough room to accommodate those who miss the deadline.

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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