Fraud

also known as: Benefit Fraud, Council tax fraud, Housing Benefit Fraud, Reporting Fraud.

Benefit Fraud

Please click below to report a benefit fraud to us:

5Report benefit  fraud online here

Or you can contact us here.

Benefit fraud is where people claim benefit, including housing benefit and council tax support, that they are not entitled to by giving false information or not telling us when their circumstances change.

Some examples of benefit fraud are:

  • people who work but do not declare it when they claim benefit.
  • people who claim as a single person but actually live with a partner.
  • people who claim from an address, but do not actually live there.
  • people who do not tell us the full amount of their income, savings or capital when they claim benefit.
You can contact the fraud team direct on the fraud hotline: 01670 624359

Benefit fraud accounts for the largest single abuse of public funds in the UK. It’s a crime that neither Local nor Central government are taking lightly.

People who deliberately claim benefits when they are not entitled to it are committing a criminal offence.

Benefit fraud can also be committed by landlords and employers. If a landlord, who is paid housing benefit directly on behalf of their tenant, fails to notify the council that their tenant has left the property then they may be committing benefit fraud.

Employers of benefit claimants may be committing benefit fraud if they understate the number of hours worked or wages paid to their employees.

Northumberland Council employs a team of professionally trained investigators who have legal powers to obtain information from financial institutions such as banks, credit card companies, government departments and other local authorities. Information can also be sourced from employers, utility companies and internet providers to name just a few.

Northumberland County Council Benefit Fraud Investigation Team use a variety of methods to obtain information including surveillance, computer data matches (including National Fraud Initiative), and undertake joint working with the Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the Police and other organisations.

IF YOU THINK SOMEONE IS CLAIMING BENEFITS FROM NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY COUNCIL WHICH THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO PLEASE LET US KNOW.

 

If you think someone is claiming benefits from Northumberland County Council which they are not entitled to please let us know.

We would like your help to identify the individuals committing benefit fraud.

You can remain completely anonymous and any information you provide will be treated in confidence.

If you suspect that somebody is committing benefit fraud you can report it to us by completing our online form below

Please click below to report a problem to us:

5Report  benefit fraud online here

Or you can contact us here.

 

You can also e-mail our dedicated fraud team at Fraudline@northumberland.gov.uk

To assist us in our enquiries we need as much information as possible, for example:

  • the nature of the fraud
  • name and address of the person(s) concerned
  • details of employment including the type of work, employer name and address, hours of work, approximate earnings
  • details of any undeclared partner including their name, description, employment, departure times from the property
  • description of vehicles, including registration number, colour and make if known.

You can contact the fraud team direct on the fraud hotline: 01670 624359

You can also call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Text phone users call 0800 328 0512 or log onto the National Benefit Fraud at https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/benefitfraud/

We will investigate any reported fraud and if we have sufficient evidence, we will take legal action against that person. The investigation may establish that no fraud has taken place, in which case no further action will be taken.

Unfortunately we cannot tell you the outcome of individual investigations but we may publicise our results and the outcome of successful prosecutions in the local media.

Frequently Asked Questions

YES. All benefit investigators can carry out various types of surveillance on your property or you personally to determine if benefit is being paid correctly. In addition they have the power to obtain various details about you to help them come to their decision. It is important to note surveillance and the obtaining of information from other agencies can only be done by following very strict rules and procedures. All of the investigators work complies with the human rights act and the Data Protection act 1984. Investigators must have strong grounds before the authorisation for surveillance would be granted.

This is an interview under caution and in strict compliance with the Police & Criminal Evidence act 1984. It is your opportunity to answer any questions connected with your claim and clarify any points that the investigation officers raise. You will be told at the interview what the next course of action will be.

NO. The overpayment of benefit and the prosecution are treated completely separately. If you have obtained money to which you were not entitled you will be required to repay the money irrespective of any sanction that is imposed. In addition even if you pay back the money prior to any prosecution you will still be taken to court for the original offence.

The investigation officers will not inform your employers of the outcome of the case. However the court case is open to the public so the information is freely available. In addition the council publicises all of its prosecutions in the local paper and on the Northumberland County Council website so your employer may find out about it that way.

NO it’s not true. This is a common misconception. The benefit office takes absolutely no account of the number of days any partner may stay over. To determine if the claim as a single person is genuine it takes account of the whole picture and looks at the whole relationship.

You must notify the council of any change in your circumstances as soon as it happens. This must be made in writing. It is of vital importance that you do not rely on anyone else or any other organisation to tell the council of any changes to your circumstances. Do not rely on the Department for Work & Pensions to advise us when your Job Seekers allowance/Income Support/ESA has ended.

NO. Housing Benefit is paid on the basis that you occupy the house you are claiming Housing Benefit on as your home. Housing Benefit would only start once you have moved in. If you are in any doubt about eligibility to receive Housing Benefit under these circumstances, contact the council on 0845 600 6400 or view our local numbers here .

NO. Even though your partner may work away for long periods the main home is still the family home and as such any claim for benefit must be made as a couple including the income of your partner.

 


Benefit Fraud Investigations Team
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
Ashington
Northumberland
NE63 9XL