Who we are and what we do
How to report someone you suspect is committing Benefit Fraud
What is Benefit Fraud?
What types of fraud are there?
How can you help us to prevent Benefit Fraud?
The Benefit Fraud Team is part of the Revenues and Benefits Service and is committed to the prevention, detection and investigation of Housing Benefit fraud within the Newcastle area. We will take all action necessary to identify fraud and error if suspected. We pledge to pursue recovery of losses and the suitable punishment of those responsible. Please take the time to look at our strategy for combating fraud and error which provides details of how this will be achieved. The Benefit Fraud Team is working hard to stop Housing Benefit fraud, and has powers to investigate and prosecute offences in relation to other Social Security benefits where Housing Benefit has been claimed. We have a dedicated team of 12 professionally trained investigators and work closely with external partners in the Department for Work and Pensions and Northumbria Police on many of our investigations.
Benefit Fraud is where people deliberately fail to report a change in their circumstances or lie in order to claim Housing Benefit and/or Social Security Benefits.This can be a claimant acting alone or with the help of a third party, for example a landlord or employer.
Benefit Fraud is a criminal offence and if we think someone is fraudulently claiming benefit our dedicated team will investigate them. If we find evidence to prove that a person is committing fraud we may prosecute them or make them pay a penalty. In any event we would be looking to recover the total amount of benefit which has been overpaid. In certain circumstances we may also confiscate further monies or assets if they are believed to be the proceeds of crime.
If you suspect that someone is committing Benefit Fraud you should report them straight away. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Call us in confidence on the 24-hour Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0191 277 4787
- E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete our on-line Fraud referral form
- Write to us at Benefit Fraud Team, Newcastle City Council, PO Box 609, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 2WH
Typical examples of Benefit Fraud are:
- people who work but do not declare this when they claim benefit
- people who claim benefit as a single person but actually live with a partner
- people who have other people living in their property and do not tell us
- people who claim for an address but don't actually live there
- people who do not tell us their full amount of income, savings or capital when they claim benefit
- people who pretend to rent a property which they actually own
- people who pretend to be paying more rent then they actually are
- people who continue to claim benefit on a property after they have moved
- people who don't have the right given their true circumstances to claim Housing Benefit
In 2009/2010 we:
Investigated 1,205 suspected Benefit Fraud cases
Found fraud and error in 418 cases
Prosecuted 62 persons who had committed Benefit Fraud
Issued a further 115 sanctions to persons who had committed Benefit Fraud
Successfully prevented over £ 865,535 in fraudulent overpayments for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, and Social Security Benefits
Benefit Fraud is not a victimless crime and can affect us all. Do not help people who lie to us. This could mean you are also committing a crime and you could be prosecuted.
Newcastle City Council will not tolerate Benefit Fraud.
If someone who is not living at your address asks you if they can have their post delivered to your address;
- If someone asks you to sign a form to say they earn less than you are paying them;
- If someone asks you to sign a form to say that they are working for you when they are not;
- If someone asks you to sign a tenancy agreement to say they are charged more rent than they are paying.
- If someone asks you to sign a letter stating that you are charging them rent when you are not.
- If someone asks you to sign anything which you kno w is untrue.
Benefits are paid to those with a genuine entitlement, so if you suspect that someone is committing Benefit Fraud please report them to us straight away.