Expat Scammers Grab £67m In Benefit Frauds

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Crooked British expats cost the government £67 million in benefit frauds made from abroad last year.

Fraudsters illegally claimed money from a range of scams.

The favourite cons are:

  • Posing as a dead relative to keep on claiming their state pension and benefits
  • Failing to declare the ownership of letting property in another country
  • Working while claiming benefits
  • Claiming benefits while overseas without telling social security about moving abroad

The largest numbers of frauds are committed by British expats in Spain, where around 500,000 are estimated to live out of a global expat population of around 5 million.

Task forces

This has prompted the British government to set up fraud task forces in Madrid and Alicante.

So far, they have cut bogus claims by £34 million a year and investigated more than 1,000 tip-offs about crooked expats.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “We are working hard to reduce this loss. These crooks are taking money that should go to the most needy and vulnerable people, not greedy expats.”

One expat was jailed after falsely claiming £1 million by posing as disabled and spending the money on a buy to let portfolio

In a separate case, a woman decided not to tell the authorities her mother had died and redirected her pension and benefits to Portugal. She was also jailed.

Warnings about bogus advisers – Worldwide

Bogus adviser alerts on the International Organisation of Securities Commissions web site:

  • Original-Kreditbox AG Ltd – Austria
  • 1A-CREDIT-now AG Ltd – Austria

Warnings about bogus advisers – UK

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) web site has these warnings this week:

  • Foster Dunn & Associates
  • Cooper & Brown Associates

Dealing with an unregulated firm

If you buy shares, save money or invest with an unregulated firm, you lose any protection offered by the Financial Ombudsman and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Broadly, you have no independent place to complain if the deal goes wrong and are unlikely to win any compensation.

Checking if a firm is regulated

Go to the Financial Services Register to check if a firm is regulated in the UK.

Reporting a suspected bogus adviser

Find out how to report unauthorised advisers on the FCA web site

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