Renfrewshire Council

Fraud and how to report it

What fraud is, the impact of fraud, how to report it, protect yourself from fraud, the Council's approach to preventing fraud.

What fraud is

Fraud is the deliberate use of deception or dishonesty to disadvantage or cause loss (usually financial). It's a crime in which some kind of deception is used for personal gain (Audit Scotland - Counter Fraud).

Some examples of fraud include people who:

  • don't tell us they are working when they make a claim or application for benefits or money from the Council
  • claim or apply as a single person, but actually live with someone else
  • claim or apply from an address, but do not live there
  • don't tell us, or the relevant organisation, when someone moves into the property, including children, family, friends or partners
  • don't tell us the full amount of income, savings or capital they have when they make a claim or application or after their circumstances change
  • make a claim or application when they know they do not have a right to it
  • provide false information for financial or personal gain
  • misuse Council materials, such as Blue Badges
  • provide false information to access Council Housing
  • sub-let Council properties or abandon Council properties.

The impact of fraud

Each pound lost to fraud represents a loss to the public purse and reduces the ability of local government bodies to provide services to people who need them. 

Across the UK the cost of fraud is estimated at:

  • £6.4 billion of benefit fraud during the financial year 2022 to 2023
  • £10 billion a year of lost tax revenue from evasion and criminal attacks
  • £2.5 billion to £28.5 billion to fraud and error.

These estimates are from the UK Parliament's report on tackling fraud and corruption against government (September 2023).

You can also see an interactive dashboard of fraud and cyber crimes reported to Action Fraud over the last 13 months.

How to report fraud

If you suspect someone is committing fraud, let us know. 

You can report suspected fraud to us online.

You can also contact us:

Corporate Counter Fraud Team
Finance and Resources
Renfrewshire Council
Renfrewshire House
Cotton Street

Give us as much information as possible so we can investigate your claim. 

Information could include:

  • name and address
  • age
  • description of persons
  • description or registration number of any vehicles
  • employers name and address or start and finish times of employment
  • the type of fraud you suspect is taking place
  • how long you think the fraud has been going on.

Don't worry if you do not know the answers to some of the questions. All the information you provide is strictly in confidence. You do not have to give us your name and address if you do not want to.

If you want to report Housing Benefit fraud, you'll need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

You'll need to report Social Security Scotland benefit fraud through the Scottish Government website.

You can also report fraud or financial crime to Police Scotland or call them on 101.

If you work for or with the Council, you can report certain types of wrongdoing (whistleblowing) if it is in the public interest.

Protect yourself from fraud

Some tips for protecting yourself against fraud:

  • Stop: if you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change bank details or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.
  • Challenge: Does something look wrong? Could it be a fraudster? Only criminals will try to rush and panic you.
  • Protect: If you're concerned about something or think you've been scammed, report it. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. You are not alone.

You can find more advice about protecting yourself against fraud and cybercrime on the ActionFraud website.

Our approach to preventing fraud

We have a legal duty to protect the public funds we manage.

We are committed to dealing equally with fraud and corruption from within and outside the Council.

Our counter fraud and corruption policy details our approach to the prevention, detection and prosecution of fraud and corruption, across all of the Council's services.

We also share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing and managing public funds. 

This is outlined in our privacy policy, which sets out how we protect personal data and who we share it with and why.

This includes sharing data with Audit Scotland as part of the National Fraud Initiative. This compares electronic data about individuals held by different public bodies to prevent and detect fraud.

Find more information about counter fraud and the National Fraud Initiative on the Audit Scotland website.