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UK.gov uses Experian data to sniff out fraudsters

HMRC and DWP ink deal with agency to detect tax and benefits cheats

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HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have signed a deal with credit reference agency Experian to use its data to detect fraud and error in the tax credits and benefits systems.

They said that a recent pilot protected more than £16m of potential losses in tax credits, and that the move could save about £700m for HMRC over the life of the contract and £100m for DWP. A spokesman for HMRC said the duration and value of the contract are confidential.

It is part of their strategy to reduce fraud and error, and the first cases identified by the company are now with fraud investigators.

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: "The government will not tolerate people who dishonestly divert money away from those who are genuinely entitled to it. Working with Experian will allow HMRC to escalate the fight against tax credit fraudsters, helping to ensure that they are caught and punished."

HMRC has released a number of case studies illustrating where savings have been made in the pilot. One involved a woman claiming as a single parent with four children, where a search of Experian's information on financial applications showed that she had a partner living at the same address. This led to her awards being stopped.

Others showed up fraudulent claims through reference to data from sources as diverse as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the Passport Office, credit card companies and mobile phone contracts.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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