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MSD investigations and social media

10 February 2016.

To be attributed to a Ministry Spokesperson:

We take our responsibility to detect and prevent benefit fraud very seriously.

Most people receiving financial assistance from the Ministry do the right thing and tell us about changes that could affect their payments. For the financial year 2014-15 there were 927 successful prosecutions for benefit fraud. As at the end of June 2015, working-age beneficiaries numbered 285,349.

A small number do not, and we take a proactive and targeted approach to managing the risk of benefit fraud.

We use a range of techniques to detect benefit fraud, including data matching with six other government agencies.

We have an intelligence unit that supports investigations and identifies tools and systems to counter fraud, and we operate a public allegation line that provides tips and information.

Our investigators follow all sorts of lines of inquiry and publicly available social media provides an obvious source of information to follow up.

We don’t capture information on the number of investigations where social media is used.

Publicly available social media is one in a range of tools and is dependent on the circumstances of the investigation.

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