What is Fraud?
Fraud occurs when a person receives more than they are entitled to by knowingly or dishonestly withholding or falsifying information about their claim. This also applies to someone who receives entitlement for another person - such as an appointee, a landlord or landlords agent.
What is Torbay Council doing to crack down on Fraud?
During 2010 - 2011, the Council’s dedicated fraud team working with the Department of Work and Pensions investigated over 430 allegations of benefit fraud. They prosecuted or sanctioned 88 people and identified fraudulent overpayments of £197,000.
Two people were sent to prison and three narrowly missed imprisonment by receiving suspended sentences. Six people were also given a conditional discharge. Four received community punishment orders totalling 770 hours unpaid work they have had to do in the community, serving the people of Torbay as a penalty for their crime.
Types of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Fraud
- Undeclared partner:
By not telling us about your partner when you first make a claim, or not letting us know when your partner moves in during your claim.
- Undeclared earnings:
Not telling us about any employment you, or your partner, undertake either when you first make your claim or any employment that started during your claim.
- Undeclared income:
Not telling us about money you have coming into your household, whether at the start of your claim or during the time you are claiming. This could be from Tax Credits, other benefits, private pensions, or rent from a lodger. These are only examples and are not a complete list of all the types of income we need to know about.
- Undeclared capital:
Capital includes any accounts, savings, and investments you, or your partner, have and any property you, or your partner, own, whether someone is living there or not
Other types of benefit fraud include:
- undeclared people living with you.
- falsifying documents or evidence
Report a change in circumstances
You can report a change in your circumstances by telephoning the Council on 01803 207201 or e-mailing the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to the Council. You can find out what changes you need to report by clicking on the link on this page to "Changes in Circumstances".
If you do not report changes in your circumstances promptly you may be overpaid and have to repay the overpayment. In some cases further action could be taken against you which might be a financial penalty, a formal caution or even prosecution. Please see the Council’s Fraud Prosecution and Sanction policy at the bottom of this page.
What happens if we want to speak to you about your claim
If we have reason to believe that you have committed an offence we may invite you to attend an Interview Under Caution. This does not mean that we believe you are guilty and will prosecute you, it means that the evidence gathered so far has indicated that you may have committed an offence.
You do not have to attend an interview, as they are voluntary. However, non-attendance may not prevent us from taking further action against you and in very serious cases we can ask the Police to issue an arrest warrant.
If you attend an Interview Under Caution you can bring a friend or relative with you, as long as they are not connected to our investigation. You can also bring a solicitor or legal advisor.
How to contact the Counter Fraud Unit
If you suspect anyone of fraudulently claiming, you can:
- email us at email@example.com
- telephone us on 01803 207201
- print off the reporting fraud form, complete it and either send to us at : Torbay Council (Fraud Team) Town Hall Castle Circus, Torquay TQ1 3DS or drop it in to one of the Connections offices.
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- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tel: 0800 731 2731
- Fax: 01803 207544