Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are highlighting the latest consumer scams in Norfolk.
What is benefit fraud?
Benefit fraud is very simply the criminal act of knowingly claiming Housing Benefit, Council Tax support or Social Security benefits to which there is reduced or no entitlement.
This can result from providing false information or failing to declare changes in circumstance.
It is sometimes considered to be a “victimless crime”, yet this could not be further from the truth.
Nationally we lose two billion pounds every year to benefit fraud; this money could be used to improve public services instead of lining the pockets of fraudsters.
Types of benefit fraud
There are many ways in which benefit can be claimed fraudulently, some of these are listed below:
- Failure to declare work
This involves claimants receiving housing benefit/Council Tax Support but failing to declare their earned income.
- Non-disclosure of property, capital or income
This is where the claimant does not tell us about all their income, savings, capital or property so that the amount of benefit that they get is higher than it should be.
- Non-disclosure of partner (living together as man and wife)
This usually involves a claimant not telling us that they have a partner (who is often working) knowing that this would mean that they would not be entitled to benefit.
- Non-declaration of non-dependants or sub-tenants
This is where a claimant does not tell us about other adults living in the property so that they retain, or increase, their benefit entitlement.
- False claims by homeowners
Where the owner of a property falsely claims benefit, stating that they are paying rent for the property. They invent a fictitious landlord and use false rent books and tenancy agreements.
- False address or failing to declare a change of address
This is where the claimant is claiming benefit for an address where they do not live. These types of offences can involve the landlord or other tenants, or occur when the claimant does not tell us that they have moved out of a property.
- Landlord fraud
Most commonly where a landlord continues to receive benefit paid directly to themselves when they know that the claimant has left the premises.
- Fictitious tenancies
Where a tenancy is created between friends or family, where the property would not normally be rented, in order to obtain benefits to which they are not entitled
If you think someone is committing benefit fraud, report it!
Report benefit fraud