Benefit fraud is when someone is dishonest in
order to receive benefit or knowingly fails to report a change in
their circumstances. This includes people who:
- do not report they are now living with a
partner or that their partner has started work
- do not report they are receiving other
- do not declare their savings or do not
declare the right amount of savings
- are claiming for children who have left
- do not report they have started work, or
started to earn money
- do not report they have inherited money
- do not report they are going abroad, living
abroad, or have changed address
If you suspect someone of committing benefit
fraud, you can report them to the Department of Work and Pension
(DWP). There are three ways you can report benefit fraud:
Complete an online form on the Department for
Work and Pensions (DWP) website.
Call the National Benefit Fraud Hotline (NFBH)
on 0800 854 440. Lines are open between 7.00 am and 11.00
pm, seven days a week. It is free and confidential.
If you have speech or hearing problems you can
use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512.
If you would prefer to make your report in
writing, you can send information to:
NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston, PR1 1GP
All reports of benefit fraud are treated in
the strictest confidence.
You can make an anonymous report by
choosing not to give you contact details, however, it
helps if you do provide your details because DWP can get back to
you with any questions if this is necessary.
A team based at Birmingham City Council
trading standards investigators, has been set up specifically to
investigate and prosecute loan sharks and has so far helped more
than 6,000 victims, written off over £7million of illegal debt and
secured 44 years in prison sentences, including an indefinite
sentence for public protection.
Loan sharks tend to operate in a small
community and will start out being friendly and offering to help
with financial problems. They rarely offer any paperwork and if
they get their clients to sign a document the client will rarely
get a copy. They can impose harsh penalties for late payments and
often randomly add fees to the amount owed. When people can't pay
the loan shark will then turn on them and use intimidation,
violence and other tactics to get their money, even when the victim
has paid their debt off several times over due to exorbitant
interest rates. We have come across examples of assault, kidnap,
intimidation, sexual intimidation and rape. The highest APR
interest rate we have come across is 117,000 per cent.
People should never go to loan sharks as they
are not a community service. Our team has financial inclusion
partnership officers (FIPOs) in every region we cover to help
people understand finances and get access to legitimate services.
So we are looking at prevention as well as cure.
The Loan Shark Investigation team has a
national 24/7 confidential hotline number answered by a trained
investigator and a new national website:
0300 555 2222 – 24/7 confidential
‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 – for