Benefit fraud is a crime that costs taxpayers millions of pounds every year.
The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) Single Fraud Investigation Service are now responsible for all investigation of benefit fraud in Cornwall, including cases involving Housing Benefit paid by Cornwall Council.
How do I report suspected fraud?
You can report benefit fraud to the Department for Works and Pensions in the following ways:
- Online at https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/benefitfraud/
- By telephone via their Fraud Hotline - 0800 854440. Calls are taken between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Mondays to Fridays. Textphone users can call 0800 3280512
- By post to National Benefit Fraud Hotline, PO Box 224, PRESTON, PR1 1GP.
You don’t have to give the DWP your details if you do not wish to do so, but it helps if you do tell them so that they can contact you if they have any questions. Their staff will advise you if you’re not sure about whether to report a suspected case of fraud.
Any benefit fraud reports received by Cornwall Council are passed directly to the DWP for consideration.
What counts as benefit fraud?
These are common types of benefit fraud:
- People not reporting that a partner, relative, friend or lodger is living at or has left their property.
- People not reporting us that they or another member of their household are working, or that their hours of work and/or earnings have increased.
- People not declaring all their savings/investments or that they own another property or properties.
- People claiming benefit for an address they are subletting, not living at or after they have moved out. This type of fraud could happen with the help and involvement of the landlord or other tenants. If the address concerned is a Council property, then this might also be a case of Tenancy Fraud.
- People claiming benefit in respect of an illness or disability which they do not have or which has improved since they made their claim.
What do the DWP need to know when I report suspected fraud?
The DWP need a good reason to investigate someone for benefit fraud, so you will need to tell them 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 partner, 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
What happens after I report someone?
The DWP Single Fraud Investigation Service will look at the information you give. If you've given enough information, they'll check the person's benefit claim.
The Single Fraud Investigation Service isn't allowed to tell you the outcome.
Sometimes no action is taken. It might be that the person has declared a change in their circumstances and their benefit is not affected by it.
The Single Fraud Investigation Service will only take action if they find the person has been committing benefit fraud. Action can include removing a person's benefits and taking them to court.