UC ? Help Yourselves To Some Free Monies ! Sign Up , Invent A Few Facts And You Win A Prize !

All about money
Universal credit : Multi-million pound scam targets claimants.

Tens of millions of pounds of public money is believed to have been stolen, with claimants left owing hundreds, after fraudsters targeted Britain's main welfare benefit, universal credit.


The BBC has been told of "money pouring out of the public purse" as criminals make "staggering" bogus online claims.

Claims include one from "a 19-year-old with six blind children" and another saying "Harry Kane" was their landlord.

The government says it is determined to bring fraudsters to justice.

The criminals exploit a loophole in the online system to fraudulently apply for universal credit and claim advance loans on behalf of people who often have no idea they are being signed up for the benefit.

A benefits official told the BBC that in one job centre more than a third of claims are currently suspected of being bogus, while £100,000 of fraudulent activity each month was recorded at another branch.

Another official told the BBC that the Department for Work and Pensions estimates 10% of the 100,000 or more advances paid monthly are potentially bogus.

This suggests that fraud rates on universal credit are about four times higher than on most other benefits.

Ironically, one of the original goals of universal credit was to save about a billion pounds in fraud and error.


Jade's story

Jade Thomas, 31, from Manchester, now owes more than £1,500 of a loan arranged for her by a fraudster, but she had to pay him £1,000 for setting it up - so received only £525 of it.

"All he needed was my provisional licence and my bank card and a photo which he had to take there and then," she recalls.

"He had a badge from the Job Centre Plus... he was dressed smartly."

Within two or three hours the money, which she had been led to believe was a type of grant, was in her account.

She only realised it was a fraud, and that she would have to pay back the full amount, when her tax credits stopped and an official explained that she had been put on to universal credit.

The unexpected debt has pushed her into arrears with both her rent and council tax.

How does the scam work ?

The fraudster contacts the claimant and says they can get them a government grant or a payday loan.

The claimant hands over their details and the fraudster makes a Universal Credit application on their behalf, sometimes unbeknown to the claimant.

The DWP approves the claim and transfers the money into the claimant's bank account, whereupon the fraudster demands a hefty "fee".

The scammer takes a large chunk of the cash, and disappears.

But because the money is a loan, the claimant is then left owing the entire amount to the DWP.

Claimants tricked


Messages from dozens of officials on an internal DWP message board, seen by the BBC, show the extent of the scam:

"How many more times can claimants add children named Ha, Ha and Ha to their UC claims, or add a landlord called Harry Kane, or add any other obviously made-up names to claim a UC advance?"

"This is a massive issue. They are literally making up street names and children (I have had Lisa, Bart and Homer recently, Simpsons cartoon characters) getting the money and we never hear from them again."

"A lot of what we see is uni students being approached to make a claim for a fee: 19 years old with six blind children."


The forum, which is open to operational staff within job centres, says the scam is particularly rife in the north-west of England.

"Around 200-300 new referrals every day" in the region are fictitious, wrote one official, and "at between £1,200 and £1,500 for each advance, the numbers are staggering".

Another official writes that "the loss of taxpayers' money could be in the region of £20m".

The first the victim knows that it is actually a scam is often when the DWP writes to say they are now on universal credit, and that any other benefits they are on are being stopped immediately.

The message board also shows the exasperation of staff that the senior leadership of the DWP are unable to stop the scam.


"To say there is a risk around UC advances is possibly the understatement of the year," wrote one staff member, who added: "Money is pouring out of the public purse like lottery jackpots every day.

"All of us 'on the shop floor' are screaming about it but nobody is listening who has any influence."

Another employee wrote: "That such a loophole exists and we are receiving massive individual and organised attacks to our benefit system puts this department to shame.

"As taxpayers, I would imagine we are all incensed that even though the system is broken and being targeted, we are still allowing the abuse to happen."

The Department for Work and Pensions said it had already secured its first conviction for this type of fraud.

DWP minister Baroness Buscombe added: "We're encouraging people to listen to their instincts. If someone offers you a low-cost loan from the government, they may be trying to steal your identity.

"Treat your personal information for benefits in the same way you would for your bank. And if you think you've been targeted, we urge you to report it urgently."



Better get in quick ... no need to buy a lottery ticket ?

Only earlier today , on the main UC thread ... number of staff cut the DWP since UC was first rolled out !
Universal credit : Fraud victims may still have to pay money claimed.

Victims of a Universal Credit scam may still have to repay money fraudulently claimed on their behalf, the government has insisted.



Work and Pensions minister Justin Tomlinson had told MPs his team would "protect vulnerable people" who would not be expected to pay back the cash.

But later his department said its position had not changed and claimants would need to repay some of the money.

The SNP's welfare spokesman described it as an "absolute disgrace".

A BBC investigation has found tens of millions of pounds is believed to have been stolen by criminals exploiting a loophole in the benefits system.

An estimated 42,000 people may have fallen victim to the scam.

Responding to an urgent question in the Commons on Wednesday, Mr Tomlinson claimed that "where it is clear that they have been a victim of fraud through no fault of their own, no, we would not expect them to pay it back."

But a spokeswoman from the Department for Work and Pensions later told the BBC that victims of the scam would have to repay any money they'd kept.

"If someone's details are fraudulently used to claim an advance but they do not themselves receive this payment, we will not recover the money from the claimant," she said.

"[But] if the individual receives some of the advance, we will only seek to recover this amount from them and will pursue the fraudster for any remaining payment."

The SNP's Neil Gray MP tweeted: "When ministers and the DWP know these people have been ripped off by criminals without their knowledge as they hoped to access hardship funds they desperately need to survive, UK Gov will now plunge them further into debt and destitution. Disgusting."

Mr Tomlinson described the fraudsters as "parasites targeting some of the most vulnerable people in society".

The frauds represented about 1% of the total 4.4 million claims and are being investigated, he added.

A team of about 120 Department for Work and Pensions staff were working to spot and investigate fraudulent claims, he said.

Mr Tomlinson promised "the full force of the law" would be used where appropriate.

He also told MPs that those whose claims for universal credit were found to be fraudulent may be able to return to their old benefits.

Earlier, Jade Thomas, 31, had told the BBC how she ended up owing more than £1,500 after a loan was arranged for her by a fraudster.

After the DWP paid over the money into her bank account, she had to pay the fraudster £1,000 for setting it up - but was still liable for the full £1,500 amount.

One official said more than a third of claims in one job centre are currently suspected of being bogus, while £100,000 of fraudulent activity each month was recorded at another branch.

Another official said the government estimates 10% of the 100,000 or more advances paid monthly are potentially bogus.

More than 1.5 million people across Britain currently receive benefits through universal credit.

When it was introduced in 2013, one of the original goals of universal credit was to save about a billion pounds in fraud and error.
Social media used by fraudsters to advertise benefit scam.


Snippets :

BBC News has found Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat pages plugging the scam, which can leave victims owing hundreds.

Separately, the BBC has been told that the homeless, drug users and even jobless young Britons in Ibiza are also becoming victims.

Officials say they are working with social media sites to shut down accounts that promote fraud.


On Facebook, the pages include Gov Grants Same Day, Same Day Grant, Discretionary Budgeting Grant and Same Day Grant Payment. Instagram sites include Same Day Drop UK, while Moneyinaminute is also advertising the fraud on Snapchat.

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Some of the sites have been operating for months, with dozens of people contacting the fraudsters asking for details on how to get the "grants" or "free money" they are offering



One bogus claim gave the names of five non-existent children as Give, Me, Some, Money, Now.


Silly sod ! Missed a trick ... two more sproggs .. OR and ELSE ... or ... his / her cat and dog ?