Benefit fraud

Benefit fraud is where people claim benefits that they are not entitled to by giving false information or not telling us when their circumstances change. This is a criminal offence.

We will prosecute benefit cheats and recover overpaid benefit.

Report fraud

People commit benefit fraud in different ways, including:

  • Working and claiming benefits
  • Non-disclosure of property, capital or income
  • Non-disclosure of partner
  • Non-declaration of non-dependents or sub-tenants
  • False tenancies
  • Landlord fraud
  • Failing to declare a change of address
  • Fictitious tenancies

You can report fraud in several ways :

Online - complete the Department for Work & Pensions online form here 

Telephone - 0800 854440 this is the National Benefit Fraud hotline, open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm

By post -

PO Box 224

The more information we have, the better the chance of a successful investigation, so please give as much detail as possible, no matter how trivial you may think it is.

You can remain anonymous but if you are happy to leave your contact details it may aid the investigation if an officer can contact you. The person you are reporting will never be told who you are and your contact details will never be passed on without your permission. If the case goes to court you would not be called as a witness.

Avoid benefit fraud

Ensure your claim form is fully completed and gives accurate information about yourself and anyone else named on the form, even if someone else fills it in for you.

When we write to you about your claim, you must read and make sure you understand the letter, check all the details are correct and tell us straight away if anything is wrong.

It is your responsibility to report any changes in your circumstances to us straight away.

You should not assume that other organisations, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, will let us know on your behalf.

If you are not sure if something will affect your claim please contact us 

If you do not report a change, it can be an offence to continue to receive Benefit payments that you are not entitled to.  

Fraud investigation

We work closely with investigators at the Department for Works and Pensions and use many legal powers to help us check whether or not fraud has been committed.

We can investigate in many ways, including :

  • we electronically match our records with data held by other organisations
  • we have the power to carry out surveillance on suspected fraudsters - to check where someone may be living or if they are working
  • if we have evidence to show fraud may have been committed, we'll carry out interviews under caution, on tape and in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 

If fraud has been committed

If it is found that a fraud has been committed the person will have to pay back the money they should not have had and the following may also happen :

  • They are taken to court for prosecution, which may lead to a prison sentence
  • They are asked to pay an Administration Penalty instead of being taken to court - this will be in addition to the amount of overpayment they have to pay back
  • They receive a Local Authority Caution - this is given in less serious cases, instead of a prosecution, when someone admits to the fraud and shows regret for their action
  • Their benefit is stopped or reduced

More information can be found on