Six pilot areas across the country will be targeted with posters, newspaper adverts, Facebook adverts and letters to claimants – urging people to report suspected benefit fraud or changes to their circumstances.
The aim is to encourage claimants to tell authorities about changes that might affect their benefits – like getting a job or moving in with a partner – before a long-term fraud and overpayments can take place, and to change people’s attitudes towards benefit fraud.
The adverts and posters – featuring satellite images of the areas with local landmarks – state:
Letters to claimants will highlight the importance of:
- notifying the DWP of a change in circumstances
- how it is everyone’s own responsibility to inform authorities of a change
- the risk of a financial penalty of up to £2,000 or criminal prosecution for failing to do so
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:
It is only a small minority who commit fraud – but it costs the country over £1bn a year.
We are keen to make sure that claimants know that even small overpayments can really add up over time, so they must get in contact with us and let us know about changes in circumstances straightaway.
The new pilot campaign will help us stop fraud and overpayments before they even happen.
The 6 pilot locations are:
- Epping Forest
The campaign will last 4 to 6 weeks with each area being targeted with a different mix of advertisements and direct mail.
Members of the public can anonymously report benefit fraud to the National Benefit Fraud hotline on 0800 854 440 or at gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud.
The preliminary estimate of total overpayments due to fraud and error in 2012/13 across all benefits is £3.5 billion.
Source: Fraud and error in the benefit system: preliminary 2012/13 estimates
Media enquiries for this press release – 020 3267 5123
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