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The Independent has today published figures showing that 87% of tip-offs to the DWP about benefit fraud were closed because there was little or no evidence of fraud.

In the two financial years 2015-2017 a total of 332,850 cases were closed after reports by members of the public.

Of these, a total of 287,950 were found to have little or no evidence to support them.

The Independent does not say what happened with the rest.

However, many of those will have been investigated and found not to have involved fraud either, once the evidence had been properly examined.

There is no doubt that the political and media driven hatred of claimants has led to a huge number of reports by prejudiced neighbours and even friends and relatives.

It is also certain that in some cases the anonymous tip-off is made by someone who knows it isn’t true but simply has a grudge to settle.

Even where no action is taken, any claimant who has been subject to a fraud investigation can attest to what an utterly distressing experience it is.

Because the source of the allegations is never disclosed it can also leave claimants feeling deeply distrustful of everyone around them.

The fact that almost nine out of ten allegations are unfounded clearly indicates that an anonymous tip-off system has no place in a civilised benefits system.

Have you, or someone you know, been the subject of a malicious tip-off? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below.

You can read the full story in the Independent

Comments  

#11 Sheilamoose 2018-04-29 14:50
13 years ago my husband got a letter from DWP out of the blue requesting he attend our local Job Centre at a specific time, with no explanation.

Turned out they had received a letter saying I was out jogging/running 3 times a day (in training for the London Marathon?) and was landscaping our back garden! Very funny – (1) I can hardly walk unaided; (2) got MS & an auto-immune disorder so have to avoid all contact with dirt as frequently hospitalised with cellulitis. Official at JC did point out that we do receive “quite a lot of money”. Yes, but (at the time) I had 2 disabled children at home too & all 3 of us were on DLA High Care/High Mobility – so not claiming a penny more than we were ‘entitled’ to.

Husband had to give up his military career when I fell ill and could not look after myself, let alone the children. The ‘extra premiums’ we received with our Income Support top-up were used to pay off the capital on our mortgage, which increased each year, while the interest (which IS paid) decreased. Yes, we had a new car every 3-4 years (was not a Motability one) – we got a short bank loan & repaid it. If we had saved up for it we would have been penalised for ‘having too much capital in the bank’.

Converted our garage into bedroom with en-suite (for me) in 2005 & ‘busybody over the road’ was knocking on our door as soon as the builder started: “There’s been no notice posted about that, so have you got Planning Permission?” Husband: “No, we haven’t – goodbye! (shut door in his face)” Under new planning rules it was regarded as ‘small building work’ and did not need consent.

Yes, we did have a lot of money each month but it was not squandered. We had a cheap caravan holiday each year (our only ‘extravagance’) and made sure our mortgage and all bills were fully paid each month. Got my suspicions who it was but accuse no-one.
#10 ang 2018-01-23 10:02
My son received a phone call from the DWP Yesterday. They have told him he must attend an interview next week because some new information had come to light regarding his PIP claim. They are sending out a letter with details, they did say however that he may have his PIP suspended or even stopped completely depending on the outcome. Now he is so distressed and worried about it. Should he be worried or is it something the DWP do routinely?
+1 #9 madgebris 2018-01-18 21:49
I was invited to attend DWP for an interview. Having recovered from leukaemia twice, having had two bone marrow transplants and suffered with several health complications, (including losing my ability to walk and having to use a wheel chair for some time due to a severe motor neuropaty - which I will have for life), I was told that someone reported me to the DWP saying that I was not as bad as I would like them to believe. I explained that my conditions could not be seen as such and it was put down to someone being malocopis. I was left feeling upset that someone could be so crual, I had been through so much and the peson obviously didn't know me. Although I was told the matter was over, I sent copies of my medical reports confirming what I had told the DWP so that would go on record should the person contact them again. I also reported the same to the police and they were very supportive, they have kept a record.
+1 #8 mistake 2018-01-18 19:30
I had to retire in 1999 aged 44, I have tons of medical evidence, no longer drive, haven't been able to go out alone for years. In 2015 I heard an obnoxious neighbour saying she was reporting me for benefit fraud as it was ridiculous I claimed benefits and she was sure I was working. She also said she had got two friends and her son to report me as well. Shortly afterward we saw strange comings and goings, the same people constantly passing our house, vehicles parked close by which following us when we went out. The neighbour was then heard on her mobile telling someone that DWP were putting a camera in a tree in her garden that looked directly into our kitchen, when we looked a few days later we saw the camera. If anyone came to our house there was loud bangs outside, however many people came, the same number of bangs I.E two people two bang etc. We had sold our property (unknown to the evil neighbour) and when we went to sign up, one of the people who had been walking up and down outside our house for weeks actually followed us into the Solicitors!! The harassment continued for months even after we moved. I was permanently on edge, constantly listening for bangs, afraid inside the house and even more afraid outside, I suspected every car, I couldn't sleep, wasn't eating and I became mentally ill. One day I was so desperate, I asked my husband to take me to a local Psychiatric Hospital and begged them to admit me, I was so close to a breakdown. Two & half years down the line I’m not as bad but I am still suspicious of cars, people etc. It has left me broken and l have to be on mental health medication for the rest of my life. It’s been nothing short of harassment and bullying but always very cleverly done where we couldn’t prove anything, we sought legal advice, etc. but without proof there was nothing anyone could do. All this because of a vindictive Jealous neighbour (who claims the same allowance I do) and a I believe, a fraud dept desperate for results.
+1 #7 Big Bad John 2018-01-18 09:47
In April 2015, I was invited to attend a "Local Service Compliance Office Interview" at my local Job Centre. Having researched online, I had a reasonable idea of what it was about. My research told me that only a senior DWP manager could make the decision on whether to close the case or proceed with it. It turned out that it had been anonymously alleged that I was taking cash in hand payment for some of the voluntary work I was undertaking for the local mental health Trust, which was totally untrue. I have never taken a penny for any of my voluntary work for the Trust, save a very small amount of travel expenses. The lady who interviewed me had 29 years' experience in the job, and I have to say that she was absolutely lovely. I know from my own 30-year career in public service that once you have sufficient experience, you can tell when someone is lying, without the need for a polygraph or anything similar. The interviewer said she could tell I was being truthful. She didn't even ask to look at the bank statements and other documents I had brought with me. She said that she was closing the case there and then, and no further action would ensue. I replied that I'd read that only a senior manager could close a case, and she told me that she was a senior manager, and had the authority to do this. All in all, not a pleasant experience, but not too unpleasant either, due to the interviwer's long experience and genuine "niceness".
+2 #6 m1dpq 2018-01-17 22:25
Hello, I was subjected to 2 DWP / Jobcentre Plus Investigations re tip-offs in both cases that were malicious. Both said that i had over £160k in assets in the bank(s). I met with a compliance officer at my home initially, then the jobcentre, my girlfriend came with me but was told to shut up by the interviewing officer, so she walked out.
The second time was by the compliance officer, who requested bank details, but as my bank would not supply them the request came from myself, and i supplied them with the details, however despite several requests for the details back only partial amounts of paperwork was returned. (they still have details of my Barclaycard account). I have been assured that these have been shredded but i got Bcard to change my card number and account details anyway.
Each time they would not say whom had made the accusations as they come through on a telephone system that doesn't log details, however i used to service DWP/JC+ mainframe computers and know for a fact that all incoming calls as well as outgoing are logged, with numbers showing where they have originated from, also having been a former RAF Intell officer, i can tell if someone is omitting untruths. This apparent method of letting them get off scot free has to be stopped, if you made this sort of complaint in work and the complaint was found out as an untruth, then disciplinary action is taken against you, the complainer, this should happen to those who put us through hell.
+1 #5 Stephbryan 2018-01-17 14:22
I was the subject of such an investigation in Sept 17 and had to attend a meeting at the local jobcentre. When i was told what I was allegedly guilty of, it was clear it was malicious and my guess was it had come from my daughter or someone close to her (we have been estranged for 2 yrs and I had to take her to court to get access to my grandaughters which I did). My explanation was accepted and i was told if any more letters co.e to let the interviewer know. No actio was taken nut the impact on me was severe and still impacts me now as constantly looking over my shoulder and am careful what i say in front of my grandaughter.
+1 #4 Sara 2018-01-17 14:09
I was subjected to a humiliating and frightening meeting following four separate complaints against me. I am divorced and have a boyfriend who lives in a different county to myself, we see each other every weekend, it’s not ideal but for now it works. We were accused of living as a married couple which we never have. I waited nearly 18 months to be to told I had done nothing wrong. I cannot prove who did this but they put me through turmoil and caused my depression to get worse. Yes I claim benefits, would rather not but I felt like a criminal. My boyfriend has had his own business for 30 years and never claimed anything yet they went through all his transactions and accounts. There are some out there who abuse the system, I get that but when the four complaints come from untraceable IP addresses and a phone box 90 miles away surely that is suspicious? I wouldn’t wish those interviews on my worst enemy including the girlfriend of my ex husband who I believe to be the culprit. That’s evil
+1 #3 TwistedWitch 2018-01-17 13:45
The bedroom tax weirdly did me a favour. Prior to it's introduction I was living in a two bed council house next door to the nightmare neighbour from hell. Every day he had a bad day he reported me for something bogus. I had visits from the DWP, Dog Warden, Housing Officer, RSPCA to name but a few. He was constantly making allegations about me. It all started when he tried to blackmail my Daughter into having s*x with him and we went to the Police. After that every opportunity he reported me. I had 5 of those DWP interviews because there has been an allegation about me. They ranged from living with two men, working whilst claiming, running a business on ebay, you name it, he tried it. The DWP were fully aware that these allegations were bogus and yet every time they happened I had to go through the trauma of the interview process. My Housing Officer, by then fully cognisant with this odious creep's MO even accompanied me to an interview and asked that they stop putting me through it but they said every report had to be investigate. Then the bedroom tax arrived and I was forced into moving...... result. NO MORE interviews. Wish I had given in and moved years before now and saved myself the anxiety and hassle. He should have been prosecuted for making malicious claims and I know I was not the only victim in his sights either. It was his way of paying you back for some slight you might have paid him, or in my case sticking up for my Daughter's safety!
+6 #2 ThisGovernmentsGoneToFar 2018-01-16 20:37
I agree tintack with your comment also, i think it's all just wrong how anyone that reports people do it just to cause further heartache and trouble and can do this without even given a name and proof of who they are before reporting people and putting them through all this extra burden upon their victim. As it states above I trust No one and I live a solitary life and talk to the odd person on the web and just try to cope my way.

The society we live in today is just horrible I wish we could return to the good old days when we where all healthy and well.
+6 #1 tintack 2018-01-16 18:59
Where the DWP concludes the tip-off is unfounded, there should also be a consideration of whether it is just genuinely mistaken or downright malicious. If the latter, this should be a criminal offence. Anyone found guilty of such an offence should be made to pay compensation to the victim. As things stand they can make as many vicious accusations as they like, put their victim through hell, and yet remain anonymous and suffer no consequences for their actions.

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