The Wrong Person in the Wrong Place Social Security Frauds in Recession

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The Wrong Person in the Wrong Place? Social Security Frauds in Recession. © Dr. Michael Levi Professor of Criminology Cardiff University [email protected] 44-29-20874376 Brussels, 2009. Fraud Risk and Threat Profiling. The scope & nature of social security fraud?
The Wrong Person in the Wrong Place? Social Security Frauds in Recession © Dr. Michael Levi Professor of Criminology Cardiff University [email protected] 44-29-20874376 Brussels, 2009 Fraud Risk and Threat Profiling
  • The scope & nature of social security fraud?
  • Does it make sense to talk of ‘the’ fraud problem?
  • From change of circumstances frauds (intermediate) to fake ID and employing ‘illegals’ (planned) frauds
  • Probability = Capacity + Intent
  • How are these changing?
  • But for which types of welfare frauds do we know enough about harm or probability in advance?
  • Social psychological perspectives Mental (social) representations
  • Knowledge and Constructions of benefits
  • Attitudes, beliefs, evaluations
  • Norms (personal and social)
  • Perceived opportunities to evade
  • Fairness perceptions
  • Motivation to comply
  • Decision-making, opportunity and culture
  • ‘Rational’ decision-making
  • Audit probability, tax and social security rates, income
  • Psychological Aspects of Decision-making
  • Sequence of audits
  • Heuristics, biases, frames
  • Self-employment- paid cash in hand
  • Interaction between social security authorities and claimants
  • ‘Cops and robbers’ versus ‘customer service’ orientation
  • Key Forms of Benefit
  • Means-tested benefits (Income Support (IS), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Pension Credit, Housing Benefit (HB))
  • Non-means-tested benefits (Incapacity Benefit (IB), Disability Living Allowance (DLA))
  • Key forms of customer fraud:
  • Undeclared earnings above the permitted amount
  • Living with a partner the customer has not declared
  • Plus Employer and Landlord frauds
  • Estimated Overpayments 2007-08 The major sources of fraud
  • These include
  • incorrect or undeclared income from employment;
  • having a partner but claiming as a single person;
  • incorrect or undeclared capital held;
  • undeclared other benefits;
  • other undeclared source of income, e.g. occupational pension or sick pay;
  • incorrect or undeclared income from the customer’s partner;
  • incorrect claiming for number or type of dependants;
  • false or assumed identity;
  • Major sources of fraud (cont.)
  • customer not able to be contacted at registered address, is no longer at the address or provided a false address;
  • incorrectly declared housing costs or income from housing;
  • continuing to receive benefit while abroad;
  • not declaring long-term hospitalisation;
  • incorrect or undeclared income from maintenance payments;
  • receiving benefits while in prison;
  • instrument of payment fraud, alteration of documents;
  • non-participation in work when a condition of eligibility.
  • Economic Trends and Crime Risks
  • People are highly motivated by fear of losing economic and social status relative to others (and arguably in absolute terms too). Therefore when times become harder, they are more likely to commit frauds within their skill set.
  • In order to examine the constraints, we need to examine which frauds will require active cooperation from others; which will be likely to receive such active cooperation under what conditions; which require merely passive/ unconscious cooperation (e.g. doing their normal job, not reporting violations or not seeing them as ‘abuse’)
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