Types of Fraud

Here is a breakdown of the most common types of fraud South Staffordshire Council has to address with guidance on how to report them.

Council Tax Fraud

Discount and exemption fraud

The owner leaseholder or tenant of a property is responsible for paying Council Tax. The amount paid is based on the banding of the property (Band A-H). The full liability is based on two or more adults being at the property and a full bill is paid unless an exemption or discount is granted.

Examples of Council Tax fraud include -

  • Single Person discount- when more than one adult uses the property
  • Student discount- when the student moves out or ceases education
  • Empty property exemption- when the property is occupied.

Council Tax Support Fraud

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for the investigation of Housing Benefit (means tested help with paying rent) fraud however Council Tax Support (means tested help with paying Council Tax) fraud is often associated with Housing Benefit fraud and it is the Council's job to investigate this.

Examples of Council Tax Support fraud include -

  • Making a false statement about your household, income or capital
  • Failing to report a change of circumstances

Housing Tenancy and Right to Buy Fraud

South Staffordshire Council Fraud Investigation Business Service investigates tenancy fraud on behalf of other local authorities and Registered Social Landlords -

Examples of Tenancy fraud include

  • Providing false information to obtain social housing
  • Sublet part or all of a property to make a profit
  • Not occupying social housing as your sole and permanent home
  • Provide false information to qualify for a right to acquire discount

Business Rates Fraud

Non Domestic Rates or Business rates are paid by all businesses unless they qualify for a relief or an exemption.

Examples of Business rates fraud include -

  • A business falsely claims that a property is unoccupied to obtain an empty property exemption
  • A charity or not for profit organisation is registered as the occupier of a property to claim mandatory and discretionary rates relief whilst the property is actually being used by a profit making organisation
  • A business falsely claiming insolvency with the intent to avoid paying rates

Abuse of Position Fraud

Employees, Members and Contractors of the Council have a duty not to manipulate the Council's Policy and procedures for their own benefit or for someone else. Examples of Abuse of Position fraud include -

  • Conducting personal work whilst being paid by the Council
  • Working elsewhere whilst on sick leave from the Council
  • Authorising payments to themselves
  • Falsifying time sheets, mileage/travel records or expense claims
  • Supplying Council information to outsiders for personal gain
  • Adjusting payment records in return for cash rewards or other incentives
  • Procurement fraud
  • Recruitment fraud

Insurance Fraud

Claims can be made against the Council's insurance where individuals have faced personal loss or injury and believe the Council to be responsible. Examples of Insurance Fraud include -

  • Exaggerating the extent of injury or damage caused by a genuine accident
  • Claims for an accident that did not happen
  • Exaggerate the cost of an item that is lost, stolen or damaged
  • Claim for an item that did not exist
  • Submit invoices that have been inflated to include work or items that should not form part of the insurance claim

This list is not exhaustive; the Council can be exposed to fraud and corruption through a variety of internal and external sources. Fraud costs us all

Do you suspect someone of committing fraud? Contact South Staffordshire Council's Investigation Team link to report a fraud. Direct Dial 01902 696619 or 696635 Hotline (24 hrs) 01902 696649.

e-mail Investigations@sstaffs.gov.uk

Write to or visit South Staffordshire Council Offices Wolverhampton Road, Codsall, WVV8 1PX

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