Headlines: October 14th, 2005

The Department for Work and Pensions is again renewing efforts to cut the one billion pound fraud bill. The annual ritual of crackdown is different this year with greater reliance being placed on using technology to identify the fraudsters. Computer support and more sophisticated use of data sources will allow investigators to pinpoint potential cases of fraud. The key message in the Department’s anti-fraud publicity is ‘our computers will work relentlessly, never take a day off and don’t even sleep.’A radical development is the use of credit reference agencies. The Department will be able to compare the financial details provided by claimants when claiming benefit, with the information they provide to other organisations when applying for credit. This cross check should identify people living together fraud , which traditionally has been difficult to detect. It is estimated that the saving to the taxpayer from this data comparison routine could amount to 40 million pounds.

A major re-organisation of investigators will allow resources to be concentrated on high fraud risk groups. The groups will be identified through a computer analysis of past claims and previous incidents of fraud to develop profiles which highlight the characteristics of likely fraudsters.

The Department is also following the example of some insurance companies by using voice stress analysis in telephone claims to identify suspect cases at the outset.