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Gov plans to use Experian to deal with benefit fraud/overpayments


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Read this today in Metro, and the Daily Mail, I think it is a stupid move, and Experian may now 'claim' to be helping government agencies in the fight against fraud in a bid to become 'legitimate'.

 

Experian should be closed down and stopped from taking over the financial world....

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and who will "police" this new private "policeman"???

 

Scary proposition

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The benefits agency, DWP and HMRC have been using experian for a couple of years. I was answering security questions for the Tax Credits, and the Q's went into mortgage payments, utility DD's when I queried the questions I was told that they had to ask certain Q's because Experian had given them a list they had to complete. When I became angry, and asked what the fek Experian had to do with my tax credits claim. I was referred to a supervisor, who assured me that experian could not view my details or access their database. But she wouldnt answer why they were using experian.

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Many posters will have first hand experience of the 'facts' retained by experian and their ilk. For government to provide further details following an application for tax credit is rediculous. The tax return from HMRC doesn't require details of direct debits etc. Government need a 'BIG' story to hide the cuts we all know are coming and benefit fraud has been used by ALL governments since before Mrs Thathcher. It grabs headlines and divers attention.

 

The facts are always fed through the government PR machine. The PM was spouting the figure of £5.2 Billion yesterday but in the fine print are the words 'fraud AND ERROR'. In other words, the £5Billion is more than just fraud. How much is fraud and how much is error is very difficult to pin down. Any one know a friendly MP who would like to tie Big Dave or IDS down to exactly how much is which? The DWP annual report of 2008-09 is very elusive but it does state that fraud is at its lowest level for years at 0.6 of the benifits paid. On total benefits paid of just over £36 billion, that calculates out at a lot less than £5 billion. The annual report also states that another 0.6% is lost through admin errors AND a further 0.9% is due to overpayments ie additional errors. In short, civil servants 'lose' more than twice what is lost through fraud.

 

Now, I'm not one for sparring the rod where it is necessary and any 'organised' benefit cheats need to be dealt with severly. The DWP highlight the case of Michael and Christine Dalton who received prison sentances of five years in 2008 for a benfit fraud involving £38,000 over 10 years. A good stiff sentence you might think until you read the case reports. Yes, benefit fraud of £38,000 charged, along with £200,000 of other criminal money and money laundering charges. Methinks the DWP PR machine went into overdrive to show relatively small amount of fraud (£3,800 per year) resulted in five years jail.

 

What will happen with experian and their 'bounty' culture will be to increase the number of prosecutions for small amounts against large numbers of people who are easy targets because they cannot adequately defend themselves. And the result, more blockages in the court system, more meaningless 'fines' and more 'overpayments' written off as uncollectable becasue the only incole these peoplw have is of course the benefits themselves.

 

Complete madness!

Arrow Global/MBNA - Discontinued and paid costs

HFO/Morgan Stanley (Barclays) - Discontinued and paid costs

HSBC - Discontinued and paid costs

Nationwide - Ran for cover of stay pending OFT case 3 yrs ago

RBS/Mint - Nothing for 4 yrs after S78 request

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Yes there are benefit cheats who should be dealt with but employing a bonus driven programme to track them down will inevitably lead to a logistical nightmare of possibly many thousands of prosecutions and appeals which will clog up an already overworked Court system.

 

Add to this the proposed closure of many local Courts....List of proposed court closures in England and Wales ...which will mean people having to travel up to 30 miles in some cases to attend court,and you will have an enormous and costly problem developing.

 

If recent television programmes on catching and prosecuting benefit cheats are an accurate guide then the DWP are going to have to employ a huge number of extra staff to film, follow and observe over a period of weeks and sometimes months before a prosecution ensues and one person is removed from the benefits register.

 

To me it appears that any benefits saved with a sucessful prosecution will be more than offset by the increased costs to the DWP.

 

In my opinion they might be biting off more than they can chew.

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The Gov already use the CRF,s if you apply for a job that requires clearance. My daughter is a prison officer her CRF records were checked yet they do not show up as searches on her file. We know they looked as they pointed her to a mistake that had been logged by one of them that she then went on to correct.

Big brother is I believe already watching us.

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I have read differing accounts of just what Experian etc hold on us as regards to information. Does anyone know the real answer just to what info they do have and do not have on us. This has caused much confusion as some people think 'this' whilst someone else thinks 'that'. Is there anyone here whom knows for sure eg an employee of one of these companies, or perhaps a family member. We certainly do appear to be living in the 1984 George Orwell times.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had to phone the tax Credits today and was shocked when the guy muttered something about Experian and whether I was ok to continue... I said "yes" because I thought that if I said "no", he's end the call, but then I got thinking, is it actually compulsory? If I refuse to go through the experian questions, am I going to be stopped from updating my own file?

 

Any ideas?

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