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Advance payment fraud: client as victim

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Andrew Dutton
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I must congratulate DWP on a reply which elevates meaninglessness to its apotheosis.

     
Mike Hughes
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Andrew Dutton - 10 July 2019 11:23 AM

I must congratulate DWP on a reply which elevates meaninglessness to its apotheosis.

I admire the optimism involved in thinking they’ll understand the word apotheosis.

     
Pete at CAB
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Mike Hughes - 10 July 2019 01:01 PM
Andrew Dutton - 10 July 2019 11:23 AM

I must congratulate DWP on a reply which elevates meaninglessness to its apotheosis.

I admire the optimism involved in thinking they’ll understand the word apotheosis.

Its that well known nihilistic 70s prog rock band Meaningless Apotheosis

     
Peter Turville
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Pete at CAB - 10 July 2019 01:04 PM

Its that well known nihilistic 70s prog rock band Meaningless Apotheosis

Hey man, you can’t refer to [insert long list of prog rock bands](or even Man) like that. Check out their set at IOW 71 on You Tube. They were so far out. You should have been there man!

     
shawn mach
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Daphne
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Justin Tomlinson says won’t have to pay advance back if ‘innocent victim’ -

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/883d54e3-57bf-4a92-9f18-eba92a40a193?in=12:59:08&out=12:59:20

     
Mike Hughes
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Daphne - 10 July 2019 04:08 PM

Justin Tomlinson says won’t have to pay advance back if ‘innocent victim’ -

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/883d54e3-57bf-4a92-9f18-eba92a40a193?in=12:59:08&out=12:59:20

One can’t help but wonder what a non innocent victim might look like!

     
Andrew Dutton
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So all of a sudden defrauded claimants can go back on to legacy benefits if they are better off on them and innocent victims do not have to pay back advances.

This is a wonderful reverse ferret, but these UC claims are all unlawful: surely claimants should be returned to legacy benefits in all cases and UC should be advised only where there is a clear financial benefit to the claimant -  and where DWP helps the person to make a new UC claim (so the fraudsters don’t have their login details) and the claimants are given a backdated payment to cover any gap between the fake claim and the new one.

The minister’s stubborn defence of the 5-week wait is depressing.

     
shawn mach
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Daphne - 10 July 2019 04:08 PM

Justin Tomlinson says won’t have to pay advance back if ‘innocent victim’ -

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/883d54e3-57bf-4a92-9f18-eba92a40a193?in=12:59:08&out=12:59:20

Now backtracking:

Work and Pensions minister Justin Tomlinson had told MPs his team would “protect vulnerable people” who would not be expected to pay back the cash.

But later his department said its position had not changed and claimants would need to repay some of the money.

Responding to an urgent question in the Commons on Wednesday, Mr Tomlinson claimed that “where it is clear that they have been a victim of fraud through no fault of their own, no, we would not expect them to pay it back.”

But a spokeswoman from the Department for Work and Pensions later told the BBC that victims of the scam would have to repay any money they’d kept.

“If someone’s details are fraudulently used to claim an advance but they do not themselves receive this payment, we will not recover the money from the claimant,” she said.

“[But] if the individual receives some of the advance, we will ... seek to recover this amount from them and will pursue the fraudster for any remaining payment.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48941661

     
Andrew Dutton
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Mike Hughes - 10 July 2019 04:52 PM
Daphne - 10 July 2019 04:08 PM

Justin Tomlinson says won’t have to pay advance back if ‘innocent victim’ -

https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/883d54e3-57bf-4a92-9f18-eba92a40a193?in=12:59:08&out=12:59:20

One can’t help but wonder what a non innocent victim might look like!

Indeed.

I have already had one case in which DWP has stated that the claimant bears responsibility, as they handed over their personal details. I suspect this ain’t over by a long chalk.

     
Andrew Dutton
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https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2019-07-10/debates/D094A7E1-8D59-417E-8107-DE765398DCAF/UniversalCreditFraud

Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con)
There are people offering help to those applying for benefits in exchange for a cut of what they subsequently receive—sometimes a very big cut. Will my hon. Friend consider outlawing that activity, and consider a public awareness campaign to warn people against this harmful exploitation and to signpost people to free qualified benefits advisers such as Citizens Advice?

So – it has started already?

I made a grim joke about James Moriarty & Co, Financial Advisers and Non-Wealth Management Services and Jack Lolly in the back room of the pub, but this statement indicates that Prof. M and Jack L are already active.

The yawning gap in the current scheme has been exploited by criminals, and managed migration will lead many more in to this form of exploitation, unless the support on offer is increased and DWP decides to ‘manage’ the process rather more actively than it currently proposes to .

There is only one certainty in all of this – DWP will plough on regardless.:  ‘(T)here is no question of us stopping the rollout; we will not.’ (Baroness Buscombe)

      [ Edited: 11 Jul 2019 at 01:37 pm by Andrew Dutton ]
shawn mach
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BBC: Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat pages are plugging the scam ...

Govt: We’re working with social media sites to shut down accounts ...

Facebook: We do not allow fraudulent activity ...

DWP official: Believe me when I tell you that £20m is nowhere near the truth ...

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48952744

     
Andrew Dutton
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‘But another official told us: “There is an easy fix to this debacle.

“Allow and limit online universal credit advances to their standard allowance only - to cover immediate expenses - and exclude everything else, until the claimant comes into the office for the next part of the claims process where further verification can be done as required.’

Or….get rid of the 5-week wait.

And ponder any other areas where they system may be exploited via ‘hacking’ the claimant.

     
Mike Hughes
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Andrew Dutton - 12 July 2019 10:15 AM

‘But another official told us: “There is an easy fix to this debacle.

“Allow and limit online universal credit advances to their standard allowance only - to cover immediate expenses - and exclude everything else, until the claimant comes into the office for the next part of the claims process where further verification can be done as required.’

Or….get rid of the 5-week wait.

And ponder any other areas where they system may be exploited via ‘hacking’ the claimant.

I’m always wary of glib “this is causing a problem therefore get rid of it” type proposals. I would rather operate in an environment where we already have the solution. As regards the 5 weeks the knock on effects of getting rid would be huge; complex and foreseeable so I’d be interested in the detail of what people have to put forward as detailed alternatives.

As regarding pondering other areas I think we already know some of this. For starters the limit on uploading documents and the need to request the appearance of the button to do so were explicitly tied to the fact DWP had been had been targeted by spammers looking to upload malware and claimants and people wanting to share cat videos and the like and eat up bandwidth.

     
MM1235
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Not sure if there have been comments on this already - I’m on hold to the DWP so scanned posts quickly and didn’t see it, but may have been distracted by messages suggesting I might prefer to call back later. I’d prefer that someone answer the phone, or better yet, have called me back..

Anyhow - social media has a lot of scary stuff about defrauded claimants being liable for the overpayment. Surely not even this government/this DWP?

But just in case, I have been thinking that the non est factum - “it wisnae me” - argument would apply to save the day. That should also apply to claims that stop legacy benefits ...  Case referring to this is on Rightsnet - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/cg/4494_99.pdf.

It shouldn’t come to this, but if it does - has anyone ever used this argument in the wild?

     
Andrew Dutton
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Just had first fraud victim restored to legacy benefits.

This is only through a Journal entry. No mention of liability for the advance.

I wonder what the legal process was?

 

     
Andrew Dutton
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Another client who has reported fraud has received a letter telling them they must attend IUC.

‘We need to talk to you about misrepresenting your circumstances to obtain an advance payment to which you are not entitled’.

Another page of the letter tells them that if they don’t attend, their benefits could be ‘suspended or stopped’ or they could face potential police arrest, have their case referred to the CPS or ‘you could be required to appear in court’.

Let’s for the moment assume that this person is what they say they are, an innocent victim of fraud.  What sort of response is this to a victim? It seems to be a standard letter sent out to someone against whom DWP has evidence of fraud.

The main allegation is also nonsense:  if the person made the UC claim, they were entitled to the advance. If they didn’t make it, as they state, they are a victim of fraud.

Pace comments made above, I cannot see this is appropriate or sensitive management of a report of a crime, nor will it encourage other victims to come forward.

 

     
Ros
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Written answer from Alok Sharma confirms that, as of June 2019, there have been around 42,000 referrals from DWP staff relating to potentially fraudulent UC advance payment claims -

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-07-10/275665/