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Fraud

Fraud

Benefit fraud occurs where a claimant, landlord or third party deliberately misrepresents their circumstances, or fails to declare a change in order to receive Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction Scheme or Social Security Benefits to which they know they are not entitled.

Report Benefit Fraud

Any information we receive is kept in the strictest of confidence but you can report suspected benefit fraud anonymously should you want to.

The easiest way to do this is to use our online form to report suspected fraud or email your suspicions to the council at fraud@west-lindsey.gcsx.gov.uk

You can also telephone the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

If you have speech or hearing problems you can use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512 or Welsh speakers can call on 0800 678 3722. Your call is free and confidential and you do not have to give your name or address.

You can also report your suspicions to a member of staff if you are visiting the council or send the details in writing to NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston PR1 1GP.

Report suspected fraud

Examples of benefit fraud

  • Not declaring that a partner is living at an address
  • Claiming at more than one address
  • Not telling us about earnings or savings or changes to them
  • Not declaring work

Investigations

We investigate any suspected fraud activity that has been reported to us and we also cross reference the data we hold with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds. This is called data matching.

Data matching

This involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records it holds and with other external bodies. This is usually personal information. Where a match is found it shows up where there are differences that require further investigation.
The Audit Commission govern the operation of data matching.

Data about investigations

  • Number of occasions we have used powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information)(England) Regulations 2014, or similar powers - 0
  • total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of employees undertaking investigations and prosecutions of fraud - 1
  • total number (absolute and full time equivalent) of professionally accredited counter fraud specialists - 1
  • total amount spent by the authority on the investigation and prosecution of fraud - to be published shortly
  • total number of fraud cases investigated. 2014/2015 - 113 and in 2013/2014 - 73

Surveillance

The council may, from time to time authorise surveillance to assist in the investigation and enforcement in connection with activities such as Benefit Fraud, Antisocial Behaviour, Environmental Health and Planning.
This work is undertaken in line with the ‘Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’)’ and the councils policy for covert surveillance.

Cases taken to court

These are reported as and when the prosecution takes place. The results are published in the local newspapers, Lincolnshire Echo, Gainsborough Echo, Gainsborough Standard and Market Rasen Mail and on our website.

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