We are all the victims of
crime – Find out more …….
Benefit fraud is often thought of as
a 'victimless crime', but this is not true. A national
study recently carried out by the Audit Commission has found that
of the £18.5 billion spent nationally each year on Housing and
Council Tax Benefit, fraudulently obtained overpayments are
estimated to exceed £200 million. It is important to remind
ourselves that every pound lost through fraud affects citizens by
increasing taxation and threatening essential services such as
social care, housing and education.
Bedford Borough Council spends around £56
million on benefits each year - unfortunately some of that is
claimed fraudulently. However Bedford Borough Council is determined
to stamp out fraud and has a dedicated benefit fraud
team to prevent housing benefit and council tax benefit
fraud. The Fraud Investigation Team works closely with external
partners in the Department for Work and Pensions and Bedfordshire
Police on many of our investigations. It is a criminal offence to
commit benefit fraud and if we think that someone is fraudulently
claiming benefit, or helping someone else to do so, we will
investigate their circumstances with a view
What is benefit fraud?
Benefit fraud is where people claim housing
and council tax benefit and/or social security benefits when they
have no right to claim it.
This usually involves claimants who are
receiving housing/council tax benefit on the basis that they are
entitled to job seekers allowance/income support but are in fact
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
Non-disclosure of partner (living
together as man and wife)
This usually involves a claimant receiving job
seekers allowance or income support and not telling us that they
have a partner, knowing that this would mean that they would not be
entitled to benefit.
Non-declaration of non-dependants or
This is where a claimant does not tell us
about other adults living in the property so that they keep, or
increase, their entitlement to benefit.
False claims by
Where the owner of a property falsely claims
benefit by stating that they are paying rent for the property,
inventing a fictitious landlord and using false rent books and
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 doesn’t tell us that they
have moved out of a property.
Where a landlord continues to receive benefit
paid direct to him or herself when they know that the claimant has
left the premises.
Where a tenancy is created between friends or
family where the property would not normally be rented in order to
obtain benefit to which they are not entitled.
How do I tell you about a
There are several ways you can tell us about
suspected fraud. You can do this anonymously or, if
you give us your name we will keep this
confidential. We have trained and experienced staff that can
provide you with advice if you are unsure about whether to report a
suspected case of fraud.
We will investigate cases and take appropriate
action including prosecuting where necessary, but YOU know what is
going on better than us because YOU see or hear things we
So to help us you can call us 'free' on
our Fraud Hotline 0800 917 8491
It is important that you supply us with as
much information as possible as this helps us to gather enough
evidence to successfully prosecute an offender. We are not
able to provide updates on individual reported cases, due to the
Data Protection Act (1998) and Human Rights Act (1998).
If you do not want to phone you can fill in an online form by
You do NOT have to give your name and all
information is treated in strict confidence.