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Posted by Jeni Evans on February 05, 2014
The British Government want to stop Abroad Fraud

UK benefit fraud investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions are stepping up their inspections of suspected benefit fraud cases abroad.

‘Abroad Fraud’ is now costing British taxpayers approximately £84 million (2012-2013), which is 90% more than two years ago, when it stood at £44 million in 2010.


It mainly involves people who have gone to live abroad but still claim for benefits such as for housing or income support, or people failing to notify DWP of the death of a relative living abroad and continuing to claim on their behalf.

The DWP scrutinised a total of 7,296 suspected cases of Abroad Fraud last year, with more than 750 cases being looked into in Spain – the highest number of suspected cases of fraud against British taxpayers in one country.

The top nations where there is a lot of tax cheating against the British DWP include:

  • Spain – 769 cases
  • Pakistan – 628 cases
  • Turkey – 298 cases
  • India – 282 cases
  • USA – 246 cases

And, investigators have even found cases as far away as in Somalia, China and Iraq.

Nevertheless, due to the change in laws regarding banking secrecy, the British Government, as well as many other governments, is augmenting its use of data sharing with other countries, like Spain, in a bid to combat tax and other types of fraud.

Additionally, foreign governments are sending details of the death of claimants of British pensions or other benefits who have died abroad to the DWP, so that the claimant’s relatives cannot try to claim on the deceased’s behalf.

But it is not only benefit fraud that is being investigated.

Richard West, Head of the DWP’s counter-fraud squad explained: “Cases of fraud range from people hiding foreign assets and homes to those moving abroad but living off UK benefits and at the expense of the British taxpayer.

“Benefit cheats need to know that even if they are out of the country, our teams will still investigate, and where necessary, bring them back to the UK to face justice,” warned Richard West. “Action will always be taken when required,” said West, “whether in the form of an administrative penalty or criminal prosecution.”

If you suspect a benefit cheat in Spain, then you can call the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) hotline on 900 554 440. It’s free and confidential, and you could help to put a stop to taxpayers’ money going to the wrong people.  

Source: Press release from the British Embassy in Madrid


  • Spain
  • UK benefits
  • benefit fraud
  • DWP
  • department of work and pensions
  • tax fraud


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