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Record number of calls to benefits fraud tip-line
A record 3,476 calls came in to the federal government’s tip line for suspected benefits or employment fraud in the first three months of this year. The line was launched in 2015 to allow members of the public to report suspicions of fraudulent behaviour, such as misrepresenting living conditions in order to receive more benefits, working while claiming benefits or employers taking on undeclared workers.
“The number of calls has doubled,” on last year, said Philippe De Backer, the secretary of state responsible for combatting fraud. “I’m especially pleased that reports of domicile fraud – lying about your registered address to obtain higher benefits – and of social dumping are increasing. Those types of fraud are difficult for the inspection services to uncover. Thanks to the tip-line we’re now able to trace and check those matters.”
Two-thirds of the reports made to the line are found to have some foundation and are passed along to inspectors. Last year the inspections uncovered fraud worth some €5 million, De Backer said.
Reports to the tip-line can be made via phone or online. Callers cannot remain anonymous, but their identities are protected.