Benefit fraud

We have a duty to process claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction, which includes a responsibility to prevent and detect benefit fraud.

Benefit fraud is when someone deliberately provides false information, withholds information, or allows someone else to provide false information, to obtain benefits they’re not entitled to.

Examples of benefit fraud include:

  • An undeclared partner, collusive separation, or providing false evidence that a claimant has left the property
  • Undeclared earnings or income, including private pension, state benefits or undisclosed work, undeclared capital or bank accounts, stocks or shares
  • Not declaring a second property or varieties of tenancy fraud

Reporting suspected benefit fraud

Suspected Housing Benefit fraud should be reported to the government. You can do this:

  1. Online at:
  2. By telephone: Contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Your call is free and confidential, you do not have to give your name or address. If you have speech or hearing problems you can use a text phone service on 0800 328 0512.
  3. By Post: NBFH, PO Box 224, Preston PR1 1GP

Suspected Council Tax reduction fraud should be reported to us. You can contact our corporate anti-fraud officer on 01827 709541.

Reporting a suspected housing cheat

If you think someone is sub-letting, has abandoned their property or taken a property not in their name, you can report it online via our housing cheats form, or contact the anti-fraud officer on the number above.  

Prosecution policy

As part of our commitment to protect public funds, we will consider prosecuting people suspected of fraud. This is when we feel the evidence will support a prosecution and action would be in the public interest.

When considering whether proceedings are appropriate, we will decide if there is clear and accurate evidence of an offence, if the explanation given by the defendant is credible in the light of the evidence and whether the evidence supports an innocent explanation.

In deciding whether ‘public interest’ is best served by a prosecution, we’ll consider the financial amount and length of time over which the offence was committed. We will look at evidence of any previous fraudulent claims, and if an offender has abused their position of trust within the authority.

Alternatives to prosecution are a Local Authority Caution, which is an oral warning given in certain circumstances to a person who has committed an offence.

An administration penalty can also be considered, which is equivalent to 50% of the overpayment.

In all cases where an overpayment has occurred, recovery will be sought in accordance with the overpayments/debt recovery strategy.