DWP may investigate suspected claim benefitswritten by Bella Palmer
The DWP is allowed to investigate if they believe someone may be trying to "scam" the system
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, millions of people across the UK have started to claim benefits or draw their state pension.
While most people are in need of and entitled to the benefits they are claiming, some people do unfortunately try to "scam" the system.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is allowed to investigate if they believe someone may be trying to fraudulently claim benefits.
The most common form of benefit fraud is when a person gets unemployment benefits, when they are in fact working.
But some people may be committing fraud without even knowing it.
Failing to inform the state about a "change of circumstances" for example, that your partner is now living with you, or that you have moved house, or that a relative has died, leaving you some money may also be fraud by omission.
If the DWP suspects benefit fraud they can launch an investigation, with plain clothes investigators having the power to show up at your work or home unannounced - reports the Daily Record.
Fraud investigators have a wide range of powers that enables them to gather evidence in a number of ways, including surveillance, interviews, and document tracing.
They can also monitor your social media and look at your bank statements.
In the early stages of an investigation you may not be told an investigation is underway, until the DWP has decided if there is a good enough reason to formally investigate a potential case of fraud.
Many tip-offs and reports turn out to be false, so the DWP wants to make sure that they do not waste their time on a pointless investigation.
As soon as there is enough evidence of potential fraud, the DWP will launch an official investigation and notify you.
DWP investigators are allowed to gather many types of evidence against a potentially fraudulent claimant.
Investigators may also check your social media accounts and search your online profiles for pictures, location check-ins, and other evidence which may or may not be useful to them.
Those who use social media a lot will leave a trail of their life and habits, often allowing investigators to piece together a picture of what that person’s life actually looks like.
If this is not consistent with the details of that person’s claim for benefits, that evidence may end up being used against them.
This article is for information purposes only.
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