DWP called on to act after tens of millions of pounds reportedly stolen by fraudsters
Tens of millions of pounds have reportedly been stolen by fraudsters as a result of a universal credit scam that has left affected claimants up to £1,500 out of pocket.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is under to pressure to explain what it intends to do to counter a scam in which criminals obtain claimants’ personal details, often by posing as DWP staff, to make bogus online applications for universal credit.
According to a BBC report, contributors to an internal DWP staff forum estimate the losses so far could amount to as much as £20m, with hundreds of bogus claims every day for advance loans of up to £1,500. The DWP said it questioned the figures, but could not say if it had different estimates.
Once the claim is established the scammers can apply for, and take a cut of, an advance loan of hundreds of pounds routinely offered to new claimants to get them through the minimum five-week wait for a first payment.
In other cases in which claimants’ details are obtained without consent, the first the claimant becomes aware of the scam is when they receive a letter from the DWP telling them their existing benefits have been cancelled, their universal credit claim has opened and they must repay the advance loan.
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45