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Benefit Fraud

 

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 benefits
  • do not declare their savings or do not declare the right amount of savings
  • are claiming for children who have left home
  • 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:

 

Online

Complete an online form on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website.

https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/benefitfraud/

 

By telephone

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.

 

By post

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.

 

 

Loan Sharks

 

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 hotline

 

reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

 

www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

 

‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003 – for text messages

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