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Fraud Investigations - How do fraud investigations work?

Benefit or Tax Credit fraud is an offence which may be committed by making: a) False representation for claiming benefits or tax credits, or b) Dishonest representation for claiming benefits or tax credits Special rules allow for investigation and prosecution where you are suspected of benefit or tax credit fraud.

How do fraud investigations work?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), local authorities and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have powers to make investigations in order to detect and prevent fraud.

These authorities may share information about you with each other. They may also have the right to gain access to your place of business or employment as part of an investigation.

Many people are investigated for fraud, but never prosecuted. However, you cannot be sure that you will not be prosecuted, so always seek advice at the earliest possible stage.

You may be able to avoid formal investigation by talking to the benefit or tax credit office - but be cautious. Think carefully and check your facts before giving information to avoid making mistakes.

As part of the investigation, you may be ‘interviewed under caution’. You can take someone with you, and, if possible, seek advice or representation from a solicitor who deals with criminal law.

Following an interview under caution, in some cases you may be offered a formal caution as an alternative to prosecution. You should seek specialist advice before accepting a caution.

If you live in England or Wales, see the Advice Now guide to interviews under caution

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