People can use an online form on the DWP website to anonymously report suspects, listing their eye colour, piercings, scars, tattoos and other details they deem relevant. Suspicions can also be logged through the DWP benefit fraud hotline. The government’s constant attempts to paint honest people – like low-paid workers relying on tax credits and universal credit – as ‘skivers’ and benefit ‘cheats’is creating a hostile and accusatory environment.
More than 85% of fraud allegations made by the public over the last five years were false, according to figures obtained by the Observer.
Government statistics show fraudulent claims accounted for 0.7% of total benefit expenditure in the financial year 2012-2013. That amounts to £1.2bn. On the other hand £1.6bn was underpaid to claimants by the DWP.