Tag Archives: identity theft

Universal Credit boss falsely claimed £18,000 of Universal Credit

The Tory-run benefit (ha ha!) system is already stacked against honest claimants – and now we see that at least one DWP boss has been cheating the system for personal gain.

What chance do honest claimants have when the officials running the benefit cannot be trusted?

And you can bet that the Tory government will do exactly what Tory governments always do when faced with proof of corruption. They’ll talk a lot about changing the system so it doesn’t happen again…

And then they’ll do nothing.

A woman whose job it was to decide on who was eligible for Universal Credit falsely claimed £18,000 of Universal Credit.

Rebecca Hanway abused her position as a case manager to defraud huge sums of money from her employers, the Department of Work and Pensions.

A court heard that the 30-year-old, from Wigan, misrepresented her own circumstances on two Universal Credit (UC) applications and hijacked five other identities submitting a further five fraudulent UC claims in their names.

When she created these claims, Hanway the gave her own bank account details so she would receive the Universal Credit Advance Payments.

She also diverted advance payments from three other UC claims into her own bank account.

Over a period of seven months, from September 2018 until April 2019, Hanway fraudulently claimed £18, 260.95 of public money that should have gone to other claimants.

Source: Universal Credit boss caught falsely claiming £18,000 of Universal Credit – Liverpool Echo

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DWP persecutes claimants rather than scammers over ‘industrial scale’ benefit fraud

Despair: It seems the DWP’s plan to tackle Universal Credit fraud is to prosecute the victims, rather than the criminals.

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.

Source: DWP: Just one scammer prosecuted so far for snaring people in Universal Credit fraud – Mirror Online

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Universal Credit loophole that Tories never fixed leads to huge ID theft scam

Amber Rudd: This scandal has come to light on her watch. Will she take responsibility and quit (again)?

The government is handing huge wodges of cash to identity thieves because of a loophole in Universal Credit that the Tories were either too stupid to anticipate, or about which they simply didn’t care.

In all honesty, the scam also relies on the victims themselves being stupid and desperate.

Fortunately for the scammers, economic conditions created by – guess who? – the Conservative government has nurtured an atmosphere of desperation among thousands upon thousands of people who are living hand-to-mouth – and desperation leads people to do unwise things.

It works like this:

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.

How do these scammers know who to target? The victim on the BBC News website says she was approached by a smartly-dressed man with a Job Centre Plus card. Where are these people getting their information?

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.

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.

Now get ready for the double-punchline.

Remember when the Tories were trying to accuse genuinely sick and disabled people of benefit fraud, claiming they were “scroungers” and “skivers” to take their cash and drive them to their deaths?

The fraud rate at the time was just two per cent. Now, DWP estimates suggest fraud has skyrocketed – because of a loophole that the government built into the system.

That’s the first punchline.

Here’s the second: This scam was reported by the Daily Express more than a month ago but the BBC has only brought it to wider public attention today.

Why the delay?

Is it because nobody trusts the news media anymore, after they spent the last few years pushing pro-Tory government propaganda?

Source: Universal credit: Multi-million pound scam targets claimants – BBC News

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Osborne promising full employment – is this an April Fool?

Bottom of the class: If you believe George Osborne's talk about jobs and benefits, you must have been educated at one of Michael Gove's 'free schools'. [Image: Gaianeconomics]

Bottom of the class: If you believe George Osborne’s talk about jobs and benefits, you must have been educated at one of Michael Gove’s ‘free schools’. [Image: Gaianeconomics]

The answer has to be in the affirmative. Conservatives can’t promise full employment because it simply isn’t part of their philosophy.

As this blog has stated many times, Tories need a discontented underclass fermenting away beneath the lowest-paid members of the working class, in order to create the level of fear necessary to keep wages down.

The argument is that a person will not ask for a pay rise if they know their boss will turn around and say, “There are hundreds out there who will work for less than you – pick up your cards on the way out!”

For a more easy-access disproval of Osborne’s claim, we only have to look a little further into his speech – from the part where he said: “For it’s no good creating jobs – if we’re also paying people to stay on welfare.”

Hang on! When did our great Social Security system change from being a safety net to help get people back into work to “paying people to stay on welfare”?

Oh yes, that’s right – when we had an unelected Conservative government foisted on us. Tories pay people to stay on welfare because they need that fermenting underclass. The aim is always not to pay enough (as you will see).

The next few lines contain unfounded claims and opinions. See for yourself:

“We inherited a welfare system that didn’t work.” According to whom?

“There was not enough help for those looking for a job – people were just parked on benefits.” But there isn’t enough help now. Come to that, there aren’t enough jobs. Where are all the jobs, George?

“Frankly, there was not enough pressure to get a job – some people could just sign on and get almost as much money staying at home as going out to work.” How many people, George? Five? Six? You make it seem as though more than a million jobseekers were sitting at home and drawing as much money in social security as at work. That would be a lie, George.

“That’s not fair to them – because they get trapped in poverty and their aspirations are squashed.” Whereas Conservative policy means what? Oh yes – they get trapped in poverty and their aspirations are squashed.

“It’s certainly not fair to taxpayers like you, who get up, go out to work, pay your taxes and pay for those benefits.” Tory divide-and-rule. You are different to them, because you have a job. If you are low-paid, it is because they are sucking down your tax money to pay for their extravagant lifestyles (I think we’ve all quite thoroughly killed that particular myth, haven’t we? It doesn’t exist outside the Tory political mind).

“Next Monday is when we do more to encourage people without jobs to find them… Benefits will only go up by 1 per cent – so they don’t go up faster than most people’s pay rises, as used to be the case.” This means people on benefits will start to become much worse-off than they are already. Jobseekers’ allowance used to be pegged at around one-sixth of average pay but will now drop to a far lower proportion, because the Tories lied to you when they said benefit rises were far greater than pay rises. One per cent of Jobseekers’ Allowance at a weekly rate of £71 is 70p; one per cent of the average weekly wage in April 2013, which was £517 per week, is £5.17. You see the difference? Oh, and one more thing: Where are all the jobs, George?

“When I took this job, some people were getting huge payouts – receiving £50,000, £60,000 even up to £100,000 in benefits. More than most people could get by working.” How many people, George? Five? Six? One, perhaps?

“So we’ve capped benefits, so that a family out of work can’t get more in benefits than the average working family.” I’m not actually opposed to ensuring that people on benefits can’t take home more than people in work. However, while accurate, this line is disingenuous. George has ensured that a family out of work takes home at least £5,000 less, per year, than an average working family because of the way he and his Tory friends rigged the system. He’s lying to you.

“And we are bringing in a new Universal Credit to make sure work always pays.” He means “pays more than benefits”. He doesn’t mean “pays a living wage”. Spot the difference?

Now here comes some more oppression, based on a really big lie.

“From this month we’re also making big changes to how people go about claiming benefits. We all understand that some people need more help than others to find work.” What work? Where are all the jobs, George?

“So starting this month we’ll make half of all people on unemployment benefits sign on every week – and people who stay on benefits for a long time will have to go to the job centre every day so they can get constant help and encouragement.” Help and encouragement, is it, George? Have you witnessed the kind of “help and encouragement” they get at the job centre? DWP employees should face harassment charges for the disgraceful way they treat their fellow citizens.

“We’re going to require people to look for work for a week first before they get their unemployment benefit. From now on the deal is this: look for work first; then claim the dole. Not the other way around.” Why? In order to drive people into grinding poverty as early as possible? Forcing people to wait until they claim means they could be without money for food, accommodation and utilities for up to a month, while the system processes them. This is not fair. It is cruel and demeaning – especially when Tory George knows there’s no work to be had.

“When people turn up at the job centre they’ll be expected to have a CV ready and to have started looking on our new jobs website.” This is the Universal Jobmatch website that is habitually used by criminals for identity theft, or to offer jobs in the sex industry. It’s so bad that the government itself is planning to ditch it when the contract with its provider runs out in two years’ time. Why would anybody in their right mind use that?

And now here’s the clincher:

“We will ask many of the long term unemployed to do community work in return for their benefits – whether it is making meals for the elderly, clearing up litter, or working for a local charity.”

In other words, they will ensure that fewer jobs are available by making jobseekers do the work for nothing. Brilliant idea, George – you are wrecking our economy.

“All of this is bringing back the principles that our welfare state was originally based on – something for something, not something for nothing.” A lie, couched in truth. The Welfare State is based on the principle that people on hard times were able to take advantage of benefits because, when in work, they paid into the system via taxes and National Insurance. That’s the “something for something”. It is not based on the idea that jobseekers have to take jobs off the market by doing them for free. That’s just plain silly.

In fact, George, you are just plain silly.

So, returning to the question in our headline, it’s clear to see the answer.

If anyone here is an April Fool, it’s George Osborne.

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Good riddance to bad rubbish: Universal Jobmatch to be scrapped

universaljobmatch

Leaked documents from the Department for Work and Pensions have shown that Universal Jobmatch is set to be scrapped – not only because it is full of fake and repeat job entries but also because it is too expensive.

But the government is bound to its contract for another two years and is unlikely to try to release itself until the agreement (with a company called, appropriately, Monster) comes up for renewal.

The plans have been revealed by The Guardian, after the documents were passed to the paper from an unnamed source.

It seems there was no mention of the adverts for illegal jobs such as sex work; perhaps the particular civil servants who wrote these reports don’t look at that kind of material on the internet!

The leak follows revelations that some job postings “enticed jobseekers to spend money needlessly – for example on fake criminal records checks – or were a means of harvesting personal information for identity fraud”.

According to Wikipedia, the site was developed by Monster at a cost of over £17 million and has annual running charges of £6 million. The Guardian states that Monster wanted an extra £975,000 to clear UJM of fraudulent employment adverts.

What is not clear is whether jobsworth Jobcentre staff will continue demanding that jobseekers use the site.

They’ll have a big job on their hands – convincing anyone that it is still workable.

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Government ploy claims Universal Jobmatch helps social mobility – why can’t employers help?

UKCES

Here’s a fascinating press release that arrived yesterday. It seems to be trying to discourage people from helping friends and family into work through ‘word of mouth’ recruitment, in favour of – try not to laugh – Universal Jobmatch!

It seems the latest wheeze is to say that ‘word of mouth’ hinders social mobility – whereas Jobmatch, as we all know, tries to funnel jobseekers into any available work, no matter how inappropriate. It allows the government to sanction jobseekers who fail to apply for jobs they view.

Oh yes, and there’s also the matter of identity theft; none of the ’employers’ advertising on Jobmatch are vetted by the government, and many have been found to be criminal organisations who want jobseekers’ personal details for illicit purposes. Make no mistake – this is a dangerous system.

That’s not the worst of it, though – the press release misrepresents the information, which in fact shows that employers should be doing much more to help social mobility, by advertising all the jobs they have to offer and providing more and better training opportunities. These are glossed over, in order to put pressure on the jobseeker.

Here’s the text of the release. Let’s go through it together:

“Social mobility and economic growth hindered by word of mouth recruitment

“As the government’s new social mobility ‘tzar’, James Caan, calls on parents not to automatically help their child into a job or work experience, figures published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) show that word of mouth is now the most common recruitment method.” Doesn’t that mean it’s the most successful? Why is James Caan trying to stop people from using a tried and proven way of getting jobs? And, has anyone heard of this ‘Employment and Skills’ commission before?

Assistant Director at UKCES, Moira McKerracher, said: “Although it’s probably unrealistic to expect people to stop helping their children, Mr Caan raises an important point. Our research shows that the most common way for people to get a job is now word of mouth. That might be cheap, but it’s got a lot of disadvantages. It relies on people having social and professional networks – a ‘grapevine’ – which young people often don’t have. When they do, it’s often through their parents. And it narrows down the potential pool of talent for employers, who could be missing out on some fantastic staff.” Okay, a lot of this seems reasonable, but doesn’t it mean that other ways of getting work have been closed off?

“Using services like Universal Jobmatch, advertising in the local paper, online and using social media or recruitment agencies can be very cost-effective ways of ensuring employers get access to the widest possible pool of talent, and young people are given a fair chance of a job.” Here’s where it all falls apart. Putting a discredited mess like Jobmatch at the top of the list casts a deadly shadow over the others. And aren’t the social media and recruitment agencies just another form of the networking that was being discouraged a couple of paragraphs ago?

“Scaling the Youth Employment Challenge, published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, notes that word of mouth is now the most common way of getting a job, with 29 per cent of employers using it to recruit compared to 24 per cent two years ago. There has been a corresponding drop in the number of employers formally advertising vacancies.” If the preceding paragraph sounded the death knell for this release’s credibility, that passage set the alarm bells ringing. Aren’t employers under a statutory obligation to advertise job vacancies? I may be wrong but this suggests that it is employers who are causing the problem, not jobseekers.

“It also finds that the major reason employers reject job applications from young people is because they lack experience, yet only one in four (27 per cent) actually offer work experience.” Yes – so it is the employers causing the problem. Why is this not flagged up, rather than the efforts of good parents and friends, trying to help people out?

“The report also finds that even young people with a job are frequently under-employed, with one in five wanting to work more hours. A disproportionate amount of youth employment is in low-skill, low-pay jobs with little training and few opportunities for progression. It calls on employers to do more to help young people into work – for example, by providing work experience, mentoring, apprenticeships, traineeships and entry-level jobs.” Again, all of these are issues for employers, not jobseekers. Why not get on their case, rather than bothering the unemployed over matters they cannot influence?

“The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a publicly funded, industry-led organisation providing strategic leadership on skills and employment issues in the four home nations of the UK.” Oh – that’s why. It’s a mouthpiece for employers to justify their behaviour.

This press release went out to newspapers and other media outlets across the UK and, knowing the media as I do, I’m sure many of them will have just picked it up and dropped it into a space without even stopping to think about whether the information is correct. That’s how the government gets away with planting misinformation in public perception – reporters are overworked and don’t have time to consider the implications of what they’re publishing.

And readers want to trust news providers. This is why the BBC must be criticised for its distortion of NHS facts and figures – it should not be a propaganda arm of the Coalition government.

It’s time to question what you’re being told.