Universal Credit: Fraud:Written question - 13420

Q
(Preston)
Asked on: 06 February 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many fraudulent cases of universal credit advance were (a) recorded and (b) processed at Jobcentres in (i) Preston, (ii) Blackburn, (iii) Blackpool and (iv) Bolton; what the value was of those fraudulent claims; and how much each claimant had to repay as a result of a fraudulent claim made on their behalf by a third party in the last two years.
A
Answered by: Will Quince
Answered on: 14 February 2020

I estimate that providing the information you request would incur disproportionate costs.

However, let me assure you that the Department takes this issue very seriously. We have set up a dedicated team to investigate this type of fraud and are proactively addressing it by using messaging on social media to remind people of the importance of safeguarding their identity, as well as shutting down social media sites that promote this fraud.

We have also made changes to the Universal Credit advance application process. Universal Credit claimants who wish to apply for a new claim advance are now required to attend a face to face interview. This change will help protect claimants from identity fraud and becoming victims of third party scams.

If a claimant has been the victim of a scam, and has not benefited from an advance in any way, they will not be asked to repay it. In these cases, we will seek recovery from the perpetrator of the scam. The Department considers all cases on their own merits and decisions are made on the strength of the evidence provided.

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