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AMA

Fraud Investigator

49 replies

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 16:29

Off the back of another thread, here goes.

I currently work in a local council but have 20 years experience in various areas.

Am busy for a couple of hours, so will reply later this evening.

OP posts:
Reliy · 15/12/2023 16:33

How did you get into it? What education etc?

LeaveBritneyAlone · 15/12/2023 18:03

How did you get into this role OP? What qualifications do you have?

And what’s the biggest instance of cheeky fuckery you’ve seen in a school admissions context?

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 19:23

Reliy · 15/12/2023 16:33

How did you get into it? What education etc?

I served as a police officer, became disillusioned then sort of fell into it.

I got a job as as admin bod in an organisation that did fraud investigation in the public sector. As part of the role they put me through an entry level fraud investigation qualification which I then used to get a fraud investigator role elsewhere.

My Police experience helped me get into the first organisation, but its not unheard of for people with no experience to get admin or trainee jobs. The Government is actually in the middle of starting a fraud apprenticeship scheme which will standardise the role across the public sector.

OP posts:
onestepfromgrace · 15/12/2023 19:25

What type of fraud do you investigate?

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 19:25

LeaveBritneyAlone · 15/12/2023 18:03

How did you get into this role OP? What qualifications do you have?

And what’s the biggest instance of cheeky fuckery you’ve seen in a school admissions context?

In my current role we have only recently started looking at school admissions, so I personally have not dealt with lots of cases. However, people "renting" a room in a friends home within a specific catchment area, or even forging documents such as council tax bills are not unheard of.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 19:26

onestepfromgrace · 15/12/2023 19:25

What type of fraud do you investigate?

At the moment, its any fraud committed against the council I work for, so council tax evasion and housing applications are our day to day, but we also deal with blue badge fraud, contracts/purchasing and staff committing fraud.

OP posts:
Sassy31 · 15/12/2023 19:30

Hi, do you have a link for the government fraud apprenticeship please . Thanks

Sassy31 · 15/12/2023 20:04

Thanks

DinoDays · 15/12/2023 20:14

When you catch someone committing fraud does it always go to court?

Do you sometimes feel sad for the people or are they mostly chancers?

Do you follow people?

So many questions!

Must be such an interesting job.

Jumbojem · 15/12/2023 20:17

How do you gather evidence?
What is a typical day like? Mainly office based or do you go out and about?
Do you have rights to interview people/make searches?

NetballHoop · 15/12/2023 20:19

What's the safest fraud to get away with?

Just asking for a friend...

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:22

DinoDays · 15/12/2023 20:14

When you catch someone committing fraud does it always go to court?

Do you sometimes feel sad for the people or are they mostly chancers?

Do you follow people?

So many questions!

Must be such an interesting job.

Going to court depends on many things including the value of the fraud, how likely is a prosecution and any other mitigating factors. The courts are very busy and cases are often delayed by years. If its a staff member for example, it may be dealt with by way of dismissal instead.

I dont feel sad for people as such. Some do it out of desparation or an addiction, others do it because they had a chance to and thought they would get away with it, and for some its pure greed. I don't tend to judge people tho, as there but for the grace of God etc.

Technically we can follow people, but surveillance is rightly very heavily governed in the public sector, altho the private sector can be a bit more carefree. In reality, we would need high level authorisation, with evidence of necessity and proportionality to do it. Also to do it properly needs a few people, so we would likely hire a specialist company for a one off project.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:27

Jumbojem · 15/12/2023 20:17

How do you gather evidence?
What is a typical day like? Mainly office based or do you go out and about?
Do you have rights to interview people/make searches?

Gathering evidence can be as simple as collecting documents or going through timesheets. Other times it can be asking for information from third party companies, which the Data Protection Act/GDPR allows an exemption for.

Most days I am sat at my desk reviewing cases, making whatever desktop enquiries I can, or knocking on doors to speak to people. I am usually in the office 4 days out of 5.

We interview people under caution, so its the recorded interviews you see on TV. We have no powers of arrest so have to rely on people attending voluntary, but if they don't attend we can ask the Police to arrest them.

We can search premises and property that belong to the Council, but not homes that are rented to council tenants. Those, and searches of people would require Police assistance.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:28

NetballHoop · 15/12/2023 20:19

What's the safest fraud to get away with?

Just asking for a friend...

Depends on your definition of safest?

A low value, one off fraud will very likely go undetected. But if people get away with that, they tend to get greedy and go on to commit more and higher value fraud.

OP posts:
Arthurnewyorkcity · 15/12/2023 20:29

What is blue badge fraud? I thought the only right that gives is better parking and you have to pay for it. Is it just people not being entitled to one?

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:30

NetballHoop · 15/12/2023 20:19

What's the safest fraud to get away with?

Just asking for a friend...

I suppose also, the frauds that are committed from outside of the UK, by telephone/internet are the easiest to get away with as they are usually very difficult to trace, but they wouldn't likely come under our remit.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:32

Arthurnewyorkcity · 15/12/2023 20:29

What is blue badge fraud? I thought the only right that gives is better parking and you have to pay for it. Is it just people not being entitled to one?

It can be people falsely applying for a badge without the medical need, using a blue badge that doesn't belong to you when the holder isn't with you, holding on to a deceased relatives badge and using that or using a stolen or forged blue badge.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:44

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:32

It can be people falsely applying for a badge without the medical need, using a blue badge that doesn't belong to you when the holder isn't with you, holding on to a deceased relatives badge and using that or using a stolen or forged blue badge.

Blue badges also allow you to park on single/double yellows and for free in some car parks. Each badge has a notional cost attached to it, of about £500 IIRC so misuse is valued at that.

OP posts:
DinoDays · 15/12/2023 20:46

How do most of your cases get picked up? I know you said the schools admissions is new to you, but is it neighbours or the school that informs you?

And the same for the blue badges, I assume a member of the public has informed your department.

QuestBloomingdale · 15/12/2023 20:48

Have you investigated/caught people trying to get council homes by way of disability claims?

onestepfromgrace · 15/12/2023 20:50

Are you inundated and how do you prioritise cases? I work in LA and our fraud department simply can’t even look at so many cases as they don’t have the time and manpower.

FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:51

DinoDays · 15/12/2023 20:46

How do most of your cases get picked up? I know you said the schools admissions is new to you, but is it neighbours or the school that informs you?

And the same for the blue badges, I assume a member of the public has informed your department.

The schools cases we have were all, bar one, picked up by the schools admissions team who felt something wasn't right, and in every instance we were able to prove the applications were fraudulent. The other came anonymously, but again their suspicions were correct.

Blue badge frauds are often reported by the public (as are the majority of the ones that don't involve staff), but we do have a team that go round checking blue badges and report fraudulent misuse to us. They would issue a ticket if the badge was legitimate but being used incorrectly, so for example overstaying the required time or parking where not admitted. They and us have access to the blue badge register so we can check if a blue badge is genuine, or reported lost or stolen.

OP posts:
FraudInvestigatorAMA · 15/12/2023 20:52

QuestBloomingdale · 15/12/2023 20:48

Have you investigated/caught people trying to get council homes by way of disability claims?

As in falsely claiming disability? Yes, I have some cases ongoing at the moment, but can often be difficult to prove, especially when mental health is claimed as a factor.

OP posts:
DinoDays · 15/12/2023 20:53

Without giving too many identifying details what's the "weirdest" fraud you've investigated?

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