Benefit fraud investigation and prevention

Tower Hamlets Benefits Service is committed to protecting public money and has a team dedicated to tackling housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud.

While most benefit claimants are honest, we are aware some people will try to obtain a benefit when they may not be entitled, try to claim more than they are due or continue receiving payments when they are no longer eligible.

The investigations team works closely with other agencies to stamp down on benefit fraud. We receive referrals and investigate allegations of fraud from a number of different sources, including other departments within our council, other councils, the Department for Work and Pensions, the police and members of the public.

If our investigation finds fraud has been committed, we will consider taking out a prosecution or sanction against the person or persons involved, depending on the circumstances and seriousness of the case.

Sanctions include administrative penalties for example:

  • a fine amounting to 30 per cent of the fraudulently paid overpaid benefit amount 
  • a formal caution which is registered nationally and can be cited in court if there is a conviction against a further benefit offence

We determine whether to take proceedings on cases further than administrative penalties, for example, to get a court conviction, in line with the council’s benefit fraud prosecutions and sanctions policy.

The policy ensures we are applying a fair and consistent approach to investigated cases and ensures we determine the severity of cases against the following type of factors:

  • sufficiency of evidence collected
  • whether it is considered in the public interest to pursue the case
  • any other relevant influencing factors, such as evidence of a previous fraud

Report suspected benefit fraud

Anyone wanting to report a suspected benefit fraud should contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0800 854 440