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Benefit fraud

Benefit fraud is a crime and costs taxpayers millions of pounds each year.  If we think someone is committing benefit fraud, we will investigate.  In cases where we suspect someone else is involved, we may also investigate the landlord or employers.

If we have evidence that someone is committing benefit fraud, we may take them to court, fine them, or give them a formal warning called a caution.


You can find out more in our guide to fraud and how we can prevent it leaflet.

Ring our fraud hotline on 0800 731 6125 or email benefitfraud@cornwall.gov.uk.

You don’t have to give us your contact details, but it helps if you do tell us who you are so that we can contact you if we have any questions.

Our staff will advise you if you’re not sure about whether to report a suspected case of fraud.

These are common types of benefit fraud:

  • People not telling us that a partner, relative, friend or lodger is living at or has left the property – It’s fraud if someone does not tell us about someone else living in or moving out of their home, as it could affect their benefit entitlement.
  • People not telling us that they or another member of their household are working, the hours worked or how much is earned - It may be fraud if someone claiming benefit does not tell us they (or another household member) are working and so may not be entitled to other benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance, or income support. Fraud can also occur if they are working more hours or earning more than they have told us.
  • People not telling us about all their savings and investments – It may be fraud if someone does not tell us about all bank or building society accounts, cash, stocks and shares and other types of savings, as this may affect their entitlement to benefit.
  • People not telling us about a property they or their partner owns, either in the UK or abroad – It may be fraud where a person claiming benefit doesn’t tell us about property or land they or their partner own (this does not include the home you live in).
  • People claiming benefit for an address they are subletting or not living at – It may be fraud if a person is claiming benefit for an address they are not living at or are subletting to somebody else. It could also be fraud when a person claims benefit for an address that doesn’t exist or where they may not have to pay rent. This type of fraud could happen with the help and involvement of the landlord or other tenants.
  • People who continue to claim benefit on a property after they have moved out – It may be fraud if someone does not tell us that they have moved, but continues to accept payments of housing benefit for their previous address.

We need a good reason to investigate someone for benefit fraud.  So you will need to tell us as many of these things as you can:

  • the names of the people you believe are committing fraud
  • why you suspect fraud and what you believe they are doing
  • their address
  • details of anyone else involved
  • descriptions of the people involved, such as their height, build and hair colour
  • descriptions of their vehicles, including number plates and colour
  • details of any work the people are doing, including the type of work, names and addresses of their employers, the hours they work and how much they earn
  • details of any partners we may not have been told about, including their name, description, employment and times they arrive at and leave the property
  • details of them spending lots of money, which you may not expect somebody on benefits to be able to do

We’ll look at the information you give us.  We’ll keep the information confidential.  If there is enough information, we’ll check the person’s benefit claim. The investigation may take some time and we can’t tell you about what we find.

We’ll only take action if we find the person has been committing benefit fraud. Action can include stopping their benefits, making them pay a fine, and taking them to court, which could lead to a prison sentence.

Sometimes we won’t take any action as the person may not be committing benefit fraud. For example, it might be that they have already told us they are working and this does not affect their benefit.

Benefit Fraud

0800 7316125