also known as: Benefit Fraud, Council tax fraud, Housing Benefit Fraud, Reporting Fraud.
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
Some examples of benefit fraud are:
- people who work but do not declare it when they claim
- people who claim as a single person but actually live with a
- people who claim from an address, but do not actually live
- 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:
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
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
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
You can also e-mail our dedicated fraud team at
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
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.
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
Benefit Fraud Investigations Team
Northumberland County Council