Fraud support officers are vital to the work the counter fraud team does. Deborah has been a support officer for 10 years, and started just after Veritau was formed back in 2009. Her role involves seeing a large number of cases at the initial referral stage, responding to and quality-controlling the referrals before they are passed to the rest of the team. Deborah investigates numerous types of fraud and is a member of the IDEA team, trained in specialist software for data analytics. The data work is challenging but rewarding; she has helped the fraud team to use their time and resources more efficiently through analysis of performance indicators.
On top of dealing with the large volume of referrals – we normally receive over 1,000 a year – Deborah has her own case load and completed the Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist qualification. The way the fraud team works has changed over the years; she was trained to investigate benefit fraud but now mainly investigates Single Person Discount and Council Tax Reduction. Certain frauds can have high amounts of money involved, such as social care and housing, as well as significant impact on individuals’ lives.
Fraud support officers also spend team dealing with external parties such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), liaising with any corresponding cases they may be investigating. In 2016, all responsibility for benefit fraud transferred to the DWP, but local authorities still investigate Council Tax Reduction fraud which has crossovers as many claimants receive both. Part of Deborah’s role is to keep in regular contact with them, exchanging information under the correct legislation, to ensure that investigators have all the tools they need.