Crimestoppers launches campaign to fight benefit fraud
Crime fighting charity Crimestoppers is today launching a campaign that will support the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in tackling benefit fraud across the country following research from the NFA Annual Fraud Indicator 2011 shows that on average, fraud against all sectors of the UK costs each UK adult £765 per year. [05 December 2011]
Benefit fraud was recently voted the third most worried about type of fraud by visitors to the Crimestoppers website during a poll hosted this year. Benefit fraud and tax credit fraud cost the UK £1.6 billion a year – with £1.2 billion of this coming from benefit fraud and £0.4 billion lost on tax credits. This type of fraud also affects HMRC in relation to the abuse of tax credits, which is why Crimestoppers and DWP have launched this campaign to encourage people to report suspected benefit fraud.
While most people on benefits only claim what they are legally entitled to, there are some who exploit the benefit system to take money they are not entitled to. An example would be a person who dishonestly claims they are a single parent, when they in fact live with their partner. Other types of benefit fraud include claimants not declaring properties they rent out, or not declaring their income from jobs by saying they cannot find work.
Listening to the UK public
The public feels very strongly about fraud costs with recent research revealing that the money believed to be lost annually on crimes such as benefit fraud and tax avoidance, is four times the actual figure. With this clearly being of huge interest to the public, who have assumed it costs us more than we spend on police a year, Crimestoppers are tackling this issue head on in response to public concern.
Crimestoppers’ Deputy Chief Executive Dave Cording said: “We are very glad to help stop benefit fraud in this national campaign, as part of our ongoing efforts to help fight crime together with the police and communities. Benefit fraud forces honest taxpayers to pay more, takes money away from those who genuinely need it, and exploits others’ honesty. Crimestoppers callers who pass on information about benefit fraud are driven by the unfairness they witness of those claiming benefits dishonestly whilst being healthy and capable of working.
“We don’t accept excuses for other crimes, so let’s not accept them for benefit fraud - it’s not a victimless crime, and it hurts those in genuine need of financial help. The taxpayer is stung twice, as those dishonestly claiming often end up in court, costing us more in time and money. By contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through online via our secure online Giving Information Form. with information about benefit fraud, no one will know who you are and you will not have to go to court. What you will be doing is making it tougher for people claiming benefits dishonestly to continue to exploit the system.”
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform added: "Benefit thieves are costing the taxpayer over £1billion per year. This money is intended to help those most in need not line the pockets of criminals. We will continue to tackle this problem at the frontline but also at the root by reforming the benefits system to make it less open to abuse."
If you have any information about anyone committing benefit fraud or any other crime, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or use our Giving Information Form.
For further information please contact Giselle Lares, PR & Media Officer on 0208 835 3737 or email: email@example.com. You can also contact Kieran Theivam, Media Officer, on 0208 835 3727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors
Populus Survey results:
- When asked to rank fraud according to how much money they think it involves nearly a third of respondents (31%) thought that welfare fraud involves the most money, a quarter (25%) identified identity fraud as involving the most money and 22% chose tax fraud. Men (27%) were more likely than women (18%) to take view the latter as involving the most money.
- Women (28%) were more likely than men (22%) to consider both identity fraud and welfare fraud as the most costly (28% and 35% respectively compared to 22% and 27% of men). Investment fraud was considered the least costly of the five types of fraud, with 40% of respondents ranking it in last place.
- When asked how much they think fraud costs the public sector each year, in things like benefit fraud and tax avoidance a little over a third (35%) of respondents said that fraud costs the public sector £9 billion per year. The next most popular choice was a cost of £13 billion (28%).
- The likelihood of respondents choosing £3 billion decreased with age (14% of over 65s compared to 21% of 18-24 year olds). Those from social grade DE were also slightly more likely to choose this option (22%).
£3 billion – about the same as was raised last year in Inheritance Tax -17%
£9 billion – about the same as spending on defence equipment -35%
£13 billion – about the same as spending on the police -28%
£27 billion – about the same as was raised last year in fuel duty -19%
- UK Fraud costs breakdown data (£765 per year) is provided from the NFA 2011 Fraud Indicator which breaks down the loss of fraud down to represent the cost for each adult in the UK
- Benefit fraud and tax credit fraud costs have been provided by DWP (£1.2billion and £0.4 billion).
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