to wonder if the DSS would check people's facebooks in cases where they suspect benefit fraud?

(69 Posts)
missnamechange Mon 06-Dec-10 11:01:57

i have namechanged for this. my best friend is living with her bloke and has been for months and is claiming benefits as a single mum while he works. i have no intention of grassing her up as to be honest i can see why she is doing it to a certain extent and its just none of my business. but i know people have wildly differing opinions on this but grassing is not for me.

also, to a certain extent i can see why she is doing it, she has not been with him that long and he doesnt earn much so she is worried about them being really really skint when they do declare it. and she has told me that they are going to declare him living there once christmas is out of the way.

however i worry about her because she is pretty blatant about it, everyone knows they live together (although i dont know how many people know she is still on benefits, she may have only told me) but my main worry is her facebook page, she is listed as engaged to him, she makes loads of references on there that would pretty much prove she is living with him, and there are loads of pictures of them all together etc. if she got investigated her facebook page would pretty much hang her ...i feel like i ought to say something to her but i darent in case she does get busted and suspects me!

nightmarebeforechristmas Mon 06-Dec-10 11:05:48

hmm

TwinklePants Mon 06-Dec-10 11:11:55

A hard one missnamechange, but I struggle to have much sympathy for her tbh.

I hope she decides to stop claiming voluntarily, but if not then it is likely that she will be be shopped by someone, and rightly so. It is exactly this kind of 'me, me, me' behaviour that screws things up for the rest of us.

I don't know if they use Facebook to check up on people, but for the good reasons you list in your OP, they should.

missnamechange Mon 06-Dec-10 11:26:15

Yeah I can see why people would struggle to have sympathy for her; if she wasn't my friend then I would be the same. but I know her and she is a nice, decent, popular person, and she is not exactly well off even now, she is just worried about how her family will be financially once she takes the plunge. its not like they are going on holidays and driving a flash car etc. if she hadn't have told me i would have had NO idea.

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 06-Dec-10 11:33:05

You describe your friend as 'decent', but she is committing fraud.

If your friend and her fiance are going to live together, then they have to sort out the financial angle.

As to your original OP, if my job was looking for benefit fraud, then yes I would look at Facebook. So much easier than sitting in a car outside the house seeing who leaves in the morning. When presumably they would see the fiance leaving for work anyway. (Isn't that how it's done according to that advert?)

TwinklePants Mon 06-Dec-10 11:36:10

Don't get me wrong, if I were in your position I wouldn't want to shop her in either. But the fact is that for all she is a 'nice, decent, popular person' she is ripping off everyone else for her own sake. She is not entitled to the benefits she is getting and is knowingly claiming them nevertheless. I don't care what she's buying with the extra cash, but just because she isn't going on holidays and driving a flash car doesn't make what she's doing right.

Sorry you're stuck in the middle here, but I really think you need to at least raise this with her and make it clear that you don't condone what she's doing. Chances are she is going to get shopped soon enough and you might just shame her into sorting things out before this happens. I can understand that she, like lots of other people at the moment, is worrying about how her family will cope financially, but if she is caught and convicted of benefit fraud she will find that things get harder for her, rather than easier.

darleneconnor Mon 06-Dec-10 11:39:03

I think that if someone did report them, someone in the DWP may well have a look on facebook to see if there are grounds for an investigation. But I dont think they could use that as evidence. They would still have to find the usual documentary/surveillance evidence.

Maybe her facebook is set so strangers can't see these posts/pics? As her friend you may want to advise her to do that.

huffypuffymummy Mon 06-Dec-10 11:42:19

OMFG I cant believe that you think she is a decent person!! decent people don't steal! because that is what she is doing! just this morning i saw a mum from school in her flash brand new 4x4 with her bloke, nice 4 bed detached house privatly rented, does she pay rent? does she pay council tax? does she fuck!!! yep i reported her!

mrsscoob Mon 06-Dec-10 12:13:21

Yes they can check facebook pages I read an article in the paper once where they did just that.

glovesoflove Mon 06-Dec-10 12:22:17

I think you should have a chat with her about it, just pointing out you're worried that she could get in trouble. If it's common knowledge she only needs to piss somebody off and they will shop her and then she'll be up a certain creek without a certain implement, won't she.

Whilst disapproving of benefit fraud there are worse things and I understand the temptation having been on benefits (legit!) and very low incomes in the past myself. I doubt the DWP will start randomly checking fb but they might use it where there has been an allegation?

(Eagerly awaiting campaign to "dob in a tax evader" in prole stylee.)

cupofcoffee Mon 06-Dec-10 12:24:21

Leaving aside my opinions of what she is doing and sticking to the facebook issue....
I would guess they might look at it as part of a bigger picture/investigation but I would not think they could rely on it as the only evidence. After all you can post what you like on FB and it doesn't have to be true so a person could always say I was making it all up or living a make-believe life to impress my 'friends' or some such tale.

In any case though as your friend is not making it up then after getting an idea of what was going on I suspect that they could put it together with other evidence such as watching dp leave for work each day etc and then they would be caught out.

scottishmummy Mon 06-Dec-10 12:29:09

of course they check fb,corroborate and gather info from many sources

pastyeater Mon 06-Dec-10 12:39:53

They do spy on FB, have a word with your friend.

MissusScrooge Mon 06-Dec-10 12:40:13

i will also leave my opinions aside being a hardworking taxpaying family!!

people have lost their jobs from posting updates on their facebook page! i have a friend who worked in a large HR dept and they would regularly check fb pages when cv's came in!

personally i wouldn't get involved, they've made their bed!

GypsyMoth Mon 06-Dec-10 12:41:51

how many people would add the dss (or whatever they are called) as a friend though??? confused

alot of profiles are locked down

GypsyMoth Mon 06-Dec-10 12:42:21

also,how would they know they had got correct profile?

Georgimama Mon 06-Dec-10 12:46:49

If her profile isn't public they would struggle (not if someone printed it off and sent it to them though). You'd be amazed however how many people have public pages displaying copious amounts of information about themselves, despite going to great lengths to project an entirely different image (I'm thinking of various parties to divorce/children's matters I have encountered - it's not clever for the absent father to claim that the resident mother is making false claims in her court docs about comments he has allegedly made about her, and then have a FB page open for all to search calling her an effing c etc). People are quite stupid, all in all.

pastyeater Mon 06-Dec-10 12:54:17

FB can still be hacked into even with all your privacy settings on. I am also amazed what people put on there. I would advise anyone to only post things they are happy for the whole world to know.

BaroqinAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 06-Dec-10 13:04:40

Ilovetiffany - they wouldn't have to add the DSS (DWP) - they only need to add a "friend" who decides they don't like what they see, or a friend who shows one of their friends - who then dobs them in.

Or they could just be really silly have have their profile open to everyone.

MerrilyDefective Mon 06-Dec-10 13:08:02

huffypuffymummy...what did you report her for?
I mean what do you know that she has done wrong?

BaroqinAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 06-Dec-10 13:13:47

yes I'm intrigued about the mum this morning that was reported too.

missnamechange Mon 06-Dec-10 17:58:55

me too

interesting comments from everyone btw.

BaroqinAroundTheChristmasTree Mon 06-Dec-10 18:00:33

FWIW - I would (and have in the past) reported someone if I knew for sure they were committing fraud.

but from what huffy described I'm really struggling to see where the evidence is

dietcokesholidaysarecoming Mon 06-Dec-10 18:09:27

Yes they could and I hope she has the sense to stop claiming.

The checking of a facebook page would require a special order being made which would mean fraud/ poss police involvement.

KatieScarlett2833 Mon 06-Dec-10 18:11:44

Yes they do

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