What are the most common types of fraud?

There are mainly two kinds of fraud offences:

  1. Giving false information in relation to your benefit claim.
  2. Failing to tell us about a change of circumstances when you know it will affect your claim.

However, these offences can turn up in many different situations, click a link below to view examples:

Undeclared income

Failing to tell us about all of your income. This could be earnings, tax credits, maintenance payments, other benefits, pensions or any other source of income.

Example 1
Ahmed put on his Housing Benefit claim form that he works in a warehouse for 25 hours a week. He also does some shifts at the local pub, but he did not put this down on his claim form, because the work was cash in hand. This is benefit fraud.

Example 2
Alan has been receiving a private pension since 2001. He has not told the council's benefits department about it because he considers the money to be his own private money, and nothing to do with the council. This is benefit fraud.

Example 3
Mary started to receive Working Tax Credit last year, but she has not reported this to the council's benefits department. She assumed that if she told the council, they would stop or reduce her benefit and she did not think she could manage on less money. This is benefit fraud.

Example 4
Sue’s husband completes a claim form. Sue notices he has failed to put down earnings from her cleaning job. Sue signs the form as a partner, thinking that if it ever comes up, she will say she just signed the form without reading it. This is benefit fraud.

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Undeclared savings

Failing to tell us about all of your savings and capital. Capital includes bank and building society accounts, ISAs, shares, bonds and any property that you own elsewhere.

Example 1
Colin has an ISA account with £2500 in it. His wife Sandra has some shares, but does not know how much they are worth. Sandra also has a bank account with £900 in it and there is a joint account with £4500. Where the Housing Benefit claim form asks about savings, they only put down the ISA and the joint account.  They miss out the shares and Sandra’s own account. This is benefit fraud.

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If you move out and you know benefit is still being paid, you are committing an offence. If you are a landlord and you know your tenant has moved out, but you do not tell the council's benefits department, you are committing an offence.

Example 1
Melanie leaves her flat in Brighton and moves back home with her parents in Luton. She does not tell the council and continues to receive benefit payments for her Brighton home, even though she does not pay rent there now. This is benefit fraud.

Example 2
Doug leaves his accomodation, owing £2000 to his landlord and £350 worth of damages to the flat. The landlord is still receiving Doug’s Housing Benefit. Nobody tells the council that Doug has left and the landlord keeps the benefit payments until six months later, when she has recouped her losses. Then the landlord tells the council that Doug moved out last week. This is benefit fraud.

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Undeclared Partner

Failing to tell us about your partner (same or opposite sex) when you claim, or failing to tell us when your partner (same or opposite sex) moves in.

Sarah’s boyfriend Adam moved out last year and she told the Housing Benefit department about it. The council amended her claim and increased her benefit, because Adam’s income was no longer taken into account. Six months later, Adam moved back in. Sarah has been meaning to tell the council, but has not got round to it yet. Besides, she has got used to the extra money now and could do with keeping it for a while, just until things settle down. This is benefit fraud.

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False rent proof

Providing false rent proof, or tampering with existing rent proof, is an offence. It is also fraudulent if you claim for a tenancy that has been created to take advantage of the benefit system. It is possible for a landlord to commit fraud related to false rent proof, as well as a tenant

Example 1
Simon is living rent free in his friend Pete’s house, while Pete is out of the country. Simon makes a claim for Housing Benefit and creates a fake Tenancy Agreement, showing £120.00 weekly rent. This is benefit fraud.

Example 2
A landlord has an empty flat in Brighton. He makes an arrangement with one of his Hove tenants to create a pretend tenancy for the Brighton property. The tenant makes a benefit claim, saying that he has a tenancy at the Brighton flat. He then shares the benefit he receives with the landlord. This is benefit fraud.