Cracking down on fraudsters

Members of the public have been urged to back a new campaign that aims to crack down on fraud.

Launched by East Dunbartonshire Council, the campaign reminds people that fraud against the public purse affects everyone.

The campaign slogan is ‘It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s you who pays’ and posters give examples of some of the frauds committed against the council and details on how residents can join the fight against fraud by reporting their suspicions.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said the council has a zero tolerance approach to fraud.

She told the Herald: “We are already making great in-roads but always need local people’s help.”

The council’s fraud team has uncovered £3.5million of Housing Benefit fraud in the last five years.

It’s also tackling tenancy fraud and recently identified 20 cases and referred five individuals for prosecution – a Scottish first.

The team is also on the trail of people fraudulently claiming single person’s discount on council tax, unearthing nearly 170 cases resulting in £180,000 being recovered and reinvested in council services.

Specialist officers are turning their attention to investigating frauds involving blue badges, business rates, council tax, insurance, tenancy and procurement as well as any other fraud against the council.

Councillor Geekie urged local people to join the fight against fraud and asked them to be vigilant.

She said: “In the current financial climate, local authorities must do everything possible to ensure that fraud is prevented. We can do that more effectively by working together with our local communities.

“It’s important to understand that these types of fraud are not victimless crimes. People in our communities who dupe the Council are taking cash from much-needed services and preventing legitimate people accessing the services they need.

“Ultimately we all pay when scarce resources are plundered by wrong doers.

Anyone with suspicions can contact the fraud team in confidence by calling 0300 1234510; reporting online at www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/reportfraud or by emailing: fraud@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

All reports are confidential and all will be followed-up.