Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and, if we think someone is fraudulently claiming benefit, we will thoroughly investigate that person's circumstances. All investigations are carried out with integrity and in a professional manner by specially trained and qualified accredited officers.

Benefit fraud is not a victimless crime it affects all of us. Last year the Council's benefit investigation team Identified over £400,000 of fraudulently claimed money - money that could have been spent on vital services for you and your community.

If we have evidence that someone is committing benefit fraud we may prosecute the offender or, as an alternative to prosecution, apply a formal caution or a financial penalty, known as an administrative penalty.

If formal action is taken against you, your housing benefit and council tax reduction can be reduced by 40% for a four week period as part of the DWP one strike policy.

If you do not tell us about changes in your circumstances than it could result in you being paid too much benefit/reduction, you could be held responsible for paying back any overpaid benefit/reduction. Alternatively, it could be the other way around and you are not claiming a benefit/reduction to which you are entitled to which results in you losing out.

To report a change in your circumstances either please phone 020 8770 5000 or by completing this online form.

If you have reason to suspect that someone is fraudulently claiming council tax reduction we would like to hear from you. Any information provided will be treated in confidence.

If you know someone who is fraudulently claiming council tax reduction please complete our online fraud report form.

If you believe someone is fraudulently claiming housing benefit or any other social security benefit you should report this fraud to the Department for Work and Pensions. You can report this online or to the National Benefit Fraud helpline on 0800 854 440 (textphone 0800 320 0512).