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The UK Department for Work and Pensions has extended its successful benefit cheats hotline to the Canary Islands and the Costa del Sol following its launch in Alicante in September 2008.
Minister Tony McNulty says the UK government is determined to stamp out benefit fraud 12.05.2009
- Residents here and in the Spanish peninsula can report suspected British benefit thieves to a local number and their concerns will be passed on by the operator of the hotline to a team of investigators in the UK. Britain’s Employment and Welfare Reform Minister Tony McNulty said “we are absolutely determined to stop benefit thieves stealing from the British taxpayer. Our commitment extends beyond the borders of the UK. Even in sunny Spain, we’re closing in on benefit fraud.”
The total cost of benefit fraud committed by UK benefit recipients living in or travelling to countries abroad is an estimated £63 million a year. It involves a range of scams such as people on means-tested benefits going abroad but failing to declare their absence, and individuals working while claiming sickness benefits.
This initiative is part of a growing relationship between Spain and the UK on social security issues that already includes agreements to data-match and share death notifications. The Spanish benefit fraud hotline number is 900 554 440. It is free and confidential and operates from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. You can also report someone online by visiting https://secure.dwp.gov.uk/benefitfraud/