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Benefit Fraud

Benefit Fraud Investigation

The Borough of Poole takes benefit theft very seriously. The vast majority of people who claim benefits are honest, but those who steal benefits are picking the pockets of law-abiding taxpayers. Benefit thieves steal money that could be spent on people or services that are in genuine need and it is your taxes that are paying for their lifestyle.

Benefit Fraud affects all of us - it is not a victimless crime.

That is why we are determined to help catch benefit thieves.The Benefit Fraud Investigation team are committed to preventing, detecting and deterring benefit fraud.

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Prevention, Detection & Deterrence

Benefit Fraud is a Criminal Offence, so we will investigate any allegations thoroughly. All investigations are carried out in a professional manner by trained and qualified Officers.

If we have evidence that an offence has been committed, we will take action. If a person makes a false statement or fails to promptly tell us about a change in their circumstances, resulting in too much benefit being paid to them, they will have to repay the money that they have had to which they were not entitled.

We may also take further action and issue either a Caution, an Administrative Penalty (fine) or prosecute them. We may also consider the ‘One Strike’ sanction where a person’s entitlement can be reduced or withdrawn for a fixed period, for a first offence.

For repeat offenders we can impose the ‘Two Strike’ sanction, which is a reduction or withdrawal of benefit for a longer fixed period. We are also able to seize assets in certain circumstances under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

We obtain our information from various sources:

  • members of the Public
  • data matching with other agencies
  • joint working with other agencies
  • reviews of a persons entitlement
  • proactive work
  • external departments
  • National Fraud Initiative (NFI)

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Types of Benefit Fraud

  • working and claiming benefits - failing to tell us about any work full, part time, voluntary, paid or unpaid that a person or their partner is doing either at the start of their claim or during their claim
  • undeclared property, capital or savings – failing to tell us about property, capital, bank accounts or savings so they get more benefits than they should be getting 
  • undeclared people in the household – for example this could be a partner, lodger or non-dependent, which could affect how much benefit a person gets.
  • undeclared Income – for example Tax Credits, other benefits, earnings, student loans, private pensions, rental income, money from foreign students.
  • false claims by homeowners – failing to tell us they own the property they claim Housing Benefit for and making up landlords and false tenancy agreements.
  • residency – failing to tell us when they move address, claiming benefits for an address that they do not live in and / or a social housing tenant illegally sub-letting.
  • landlord / agent fraud – failing to tell us when a person claiming benefit has left their property and they continue to receive direct payments of Housing Benefit.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Support, it is your responsibility to notify the Benefits Service at the Borough of Poole of any changes in your circumstances, immediately.

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Report a Benefit Cheat

Do you suspect someone is claiming Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Support that they are not entitled to? Please tell us about it. Any information you give will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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Guidance Notes

The more information you can provide the more successful our investigation will be. Please try to include the following:

  • name and address of the person you are reporting and any other persons involved e.g. partner
  • a description of the person you are reporting (height, build, age, hair colour and style) and any other persons involved e.g. partner, lodgers, non dependants etc
  • where the customer or partner works, employers name, days they work, how they are paid, how long they have worked, do they wear a uniform, times of leaving / returning home, how do they travel to work?
  • does the person have a vehicle, please provide colour, make, model and where the vehicle is kept
  • do they have undeclared savings, how much, which bank / building society are the accounts held with?

Contact us

Investigation Team
Benefits Service
Financial Services
Borough of Poole
PO BOX 722
BH15 2YE

Free Fraud Hotline: 08000 963596

Online 'Report it' form

E-mail: benefitinvestigations@poole.gov.uk

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Contact us

Email
benefitinvestigations@poole.gov.uk

Telephone
08000 963596

Text Relay
18001 01202 634234

Address

Stour Valley and Poole Partnership                         PO Box 722                     Poole                                 Bh15 2YE  

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