Only one scammer has been prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions in connection with a fraud that has cost the nation an estimated £150 million per month.
The 145 dedicated staff hired by the DWP to investigate seem more interested in prosecuting genuine benefit claimants – with one already convicted and 28 facing prosecution.
Doesn’t that seem the wrong way around?
The scam works because people who need to claim benefits have been made increasingly desperate by the economic conditions created by the Conservative government.
Here’s how I described it, back in July:
“The scammer approaches the victim – a person in need of quick cash – and offers to get them a government grant or a payday loan for a small fee. They demand the victim’s identity details.
“The scammer then simply goes online and makes a Universal Credit claim in the victim’s name, demanding an advance loan in the process.
“The DWP’s online system automatically approves the claim because it doesn’t know any better and transfers the money into the victim’s bank account – from which the scammer then takes a huge amount of the money that has been handed over.
“The victim is left with a small fraction of the loan, but owing the entire amount back to the DWP. Not only that, but any other benefits they may have been claiming will have been cancelled.
“So the victim is left much worse-off – and the government department doesn’t care. It will pursue them for the full amount.”
This is what we are seeing now – the DWP is apparently pursuing the victims, rather than the perpetrators.
“It seems the scam works because of Universal Credit’s ‘digital by design’ nature; the computerised system automatically approves the application, no matter how bizarre the claims in it.
“So thousands of pounds have been given in response to claims on behalf of (allegedly) a 19-year-old with six blind children, people with children called Lisa, Bart and Homer – or indeed Ha, Ha and Ha – and people claiming “Harry Kane” is their landlord.
“Apparently 100,000 or more such advances are being paid every month. At up to £1,500 a go, that’s a lot of money.”
It seems the DWP’s 145 investigators are currently looking into 85,000 cases, with the caseload increasing all the time.
Has anything been done to stop the computerised Universal Credit claim system from automatically allowing these scams? If not, why not? Do the Tories see it as another way to persecute the vulnerable?
It seems to This Writer that there is only one way to stop the scammers from exploiting the vulnerable – and to stop the Tories from persecuting them.
Elect a Labour government that will end Universal Credit and implement a fair system in which people won’t be pushed into the arms of criminals.
It’s that simple.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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