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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Advance payment fraud: client as victim

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ekc
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Andrew Dutton - 22 August 2019 09:15 AM

latest one in:

Claimant responds to Snapchat message saying apply for a cheap loan - was given by the ‘loan company’ what sounds like the UC application address, sets up UC account and then gives the fraudsters the login details.

They claimed £1500 advance and got the claimant to give them a ‘processing fee’ of £900.

Claimant later received a message from the ‘loan co’ saying they could check for ‘eligibility’ for a second loan. Somehow they got £1500 and ‘charged’ £750. Claimant was not involved in this application other than agreeing to have eligibility checked. How and why did DWP pay out a second time?

Fraudsters than added children called ‘F**k’ ‘The’ and ‘System’ and then added further children called ‘Free’ and ‘Money’.

The fraudsters aren’t just running rings round the DWP, they are trolling them too.

What was the timeline here? If the fraudsters were able to complete the victim’s ID check online, could the second “loan” be her first regular UC payment, 5 weeks after the initial scam?

Andrew Dutton
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‘What was the timeline here? If the fraudsters were able to complete the victim’s ID check online, could the second “loan” be her first regular UC payment, 5 weeks after the initial scam?’

Difficult to say, still gathering details. It is however very likely that the victim had no UC entitlement whatsoever owing to earned income.

Matters are further complicated by the fact that the fraudsters, having been given the login details, have changed them and the victim can’t log on. It is to be hoped that DWP has closed the claim! They are certaiinly aware of the problem - another IUC case.

Andrew Dutton
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Two more cases - ‘government loan’ offered on social media, claimants persuaded to hand over personal details and then most of the advance.

Andrew Dutton
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One claimant, seen at IUC without representation or advice, has now been asked to accept an Admin Penalty.  They have become so worried, they have accepted the AP in the hope that it will close the matter. and they will not fight on.

Still not clear what offence the claimant is supposed to have committed.

Has anyone else seen this happening?

MikeMay
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I have seen this with a letter saying that they will impose a penalty rather than prosecute. They also sent two letters. One with the Cl’s name and details the second with the Cl’s name and somebody else’s details.

Andrew Dutton
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MikeMay - 17 September 2019 10:16 AM

I have seen this with a letter saying that they will impose a penalty rather than prosecute. They also sent two letters. One with the Cl’s name and details the second with the Cl’s name and somebody else’s details.


Doesn’t inspire confidence in the process does it?

Ros
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The DWP has just updated its guidance to claimants to say that can’t apply for an advance until have had identity verified at jobcentre -

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

Pete at CAB
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Ros - 18 September 2019 03:36 PM

The DWP has just updated its guidance to claimants to say that can’t apply for an advance until have had identity verified at jobcentre -

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

Long overdue, why on earth did it take until now?

LisaL
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Has anyone come across a situation where their client has been scammed, the money went into their bank account thinking they had applied for a loan, the tax credits have been stopped, she has reported it to the police, action fraud etc, given the details to tax credits and once investigated they have allowed the legacy benefit claim to be reinstated and continue. They themselves have not opened a UC claim and the original claim opened by the fraudster has been closed down.  I am trying to establish whether its worth waiting to see if the TC claim will be reopened, obviously whilst waiting, client is not receiving money delaying the inevitable UC claim.

Andrew Dutton
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LisaL - 25 September 2019 05:02 PM

Has anyone come across a situation where their client has been scammed, the money went into their bank account thinking they had applied for a loan, the tax credits have been stopped, she has reported it to the police, action fraud etc, given the details to tax credits and once investigated they have allowed the legacy benefit claim to be reinstated and continue. They themselves have not opened a UC claim and the original claim opened by the fraudster has been closed down.  I am trying to establish whether its worth waiting to see if the TC claim will be reopened, obviously whilst waiting, client is not receiving money delaying the inevitable UC claim.

I have had just one who was restored to legacy benefits,  a severely disabled person who very plainly had been exploited and could not have made the claim in person.

DWP did not explain its reasons for the decision, and they are still trying to hold the claimant liable for the UC advance. The claimant’s MP is taking this matter up.

HMRC appears to defer to DWP’s judgment on whether legacy benefits should be restored.

To speed matters up, I’d suggest getting your person’s MP involved to get a decision from DWP. 

 

Sue Sowerby
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We have just had our first fraud case here believe it or not! Our client is self employed, living with a partner, no children. In receipt of tax credits, partner in receipt of PIP but nothing else (she had a previous claim to IR ESA but this stopped due to clients earnings). He knew nothing until legacy benefits stopped, letter from tax credits explained that this was because he had claimed UC. Our client cannot read or write so it was actually several months before he realised his money had stopped. Several calls to UC & local partnership team have established that a claim was made in Manchester (we are in Cumbria) using clients details, for a couple with 3 children, advance claimed and paid, presumably either just before the rules changed about needing to verify ID before advance payable, or using fake ID. Following over a months wait for news from the DWP about their investigation, the local partnership manager has now contacted us to advise that our client cannot return to legacy benefits, he will need to make a new claim (telephone as not computer literate), will not have to pay the advance (fingers crossed on that one - this may change as they are still investigating) and can ask for a backdate right back to when tax credits ended. Not great for our client as he has low self employed earnings so may be affected by the MIF, but we have suggested that he declares himself a carer for his partner so that he will not be subject to the all work related requirements & the MIF shouldn’t be applied. Partner previously had ESA with support component but on UC would now have to start a new WCA before this element could be applied again and a work allowance given. He is understandably very reluctant to apply for UC so hasn’t done so yet. Although the investigation seems to be still ongoing we have not been given any more info on this, and our client rightly feels that if he claims UC there will never be any going back. We have suggested he or we raise this with his MP but not sure what else we can do.

Andrew Dutton
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There is something new here if this is an identity theft (at some remove) as well as 3rd party fraud.

The person wasn’t conned by fake Jobcentre staff or lured in to taking out a ‘loan’? I take it the bank account to which the advance was paid wasn’t his?

If the claim was made with stolen information without any participation (however innocent) from the claimant, DWP needs to think about how the fraudsters got this information.

There has to be an argument here that no effective UC claim was ever made as the claimant didn’t make it – ‘not properly made’, wasn’t that Neil Couling’s phrase?

So there was nothing to terminate existing legacy benefit claims, no basis for a UC claim to be accepted and no lobster pot.

I think going to the MP is going to be the best route – DWP don’t seem to be at all consistent in their decisions about whether or not to restore legacy benefits.

I can’t quite see how backdating would work if they did claim UC, either. That seems to involve a level of flexibility that the UC rules just don’t have.

It may be worth raising this whole issue with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on UC - https://appguniversalcredit.org.uk/ - I mean you , me, Rightsnet, NAWRA, everyone!

Sue Sowerby
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Thanks Andrew, the advance payment didn’t go into our clients account, and he is not aware of any contact by officials offering a loan etc as has happened before. It does seem to be more of a case of identity theft, not sure why these people can’t be tracked down from the bank details they have provided for the payment, unless they used fake ID to open an account. We will try the MP and will let you know of any outcome.

LisaL
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Many thanks for responding Andrew, I feel it is unlikely her TC’s will be reinstated as he took the ‘loan’.  I have directed her to her MP.