Callcredit Information Group

Callcredit Information Group

March 08, 2012 01:00 ET

Majority of Tenancy Fraud Cases 'Not Caught', According to Callcredit Research

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 8, 2012) - A shocking 90 per cent of all tenancy fraud cases are going undetected - while nearly three-quarters of all UK local authorities did not uncover a single case of housing fraud in 2011.

These are the alarming statistics to emerge from a new survey by the public sector experts at Callcredit Information Group, who carried out research into the crime that costs the state an estimated £1bn a year.*

Using data obtained from local authorities via the Freedom of Information Act, along with published data, Callcredit also found that:

  • 85 per cent of all UK local authorities have no dedicated tenancy fraud strategy or dedicated fraud team;

  • Those local authorities that did have a fraud strategy or dedicated team, 85 per cent detected a fraud; whereas those local authorities that did not have a strategy or dedicated team only 19 per cent detected a fraud.

  • There are significant regional differences between fraud detection rates, with 88 per cent of authorities in Wales failing to detect any fraud compared to 18 per cent in London;

  • The most common type of tenancy fraud is unlawful letting (40 per cent) followed by non-occupation of a principal home (38 per cent).

The survey's findings are contained in a new white paper entitled 'Shutting the Door on Tenancy Fraud', which has been published by Callcredit and will be available from 14th March 2012. Copies of the report can be obtained by registering at http://www.callcredit.co.uk/public-sector-white-paper-register-interest.

Andrew Davis, Director of Public Sector at Callcredit, announced the survey findings at the Public Sector Efficiency Expo, at London's Olympia Two. Commenting on the report, he said: "Regrettably, public sector fraud is soaring and one of the biggest areas is tenancy fraud. It is a sad fact of life that wherever social housing is found, tenancy fraud is too. We know from our research that the UK's social housing waiting list now exceeds 2.3m homes, and that the problem of tenancy fraud is endemic across all areas - it is not just restricted to metropolitan districts.

"Clearly from the results of our survey it is clear to see that those local authorities that do have a dedicated strategy and fraud investigation teams are beginning to yield results.

"That does not have to mean investing more money, but simply reallocating resources in a more efficient way. For instance, we found that local authorities that used data matching services detected 59 per cent more fraud cases than those that didn't."

Mike Haley, Director of Public Sector Fraud at the National Fraud Authority, which co-ordinates efforts across government to reduce fraud against the public sector - estimated to cost £25 billion annually - said: "Now that a light has been shone on the scale of Housing Tenancy Fraud, we call upon all local authorities to implement a thorough strategy going forwards to detect and prevent it, using identified best practice including the use of credit reference data".

* Source: National Fraud Authority

Notes to editors:

Extensive guidance is already available on the practical steps local authorities can take to fight tenancy fraud. In December 2010, the National Fraud Authority and Chartered Institute of Housing published a "Guide to tackling housing tenancy fraud". Before this in November 2009, the Department of Communities and Local Government published "Tackling unlawful subletting and occupancy: Good practice guidance for social landlords". Additional information is available from the Audit Commission in each annual edition (2009-2011) of "Protecting the Public Purse".

About the Survey

Callcredit prepared the White Paper using a survey of local authorities (carried out under the Freedom of Information Act), along with published statistics, a literature review and practitioner interviews. The survey was carried out during in January and February 2012 and looked at results in the calendar year 2011.

Callcredit recognises the important role played by housing associations as they, together with other non-public bodies, provide 2.8m homes in the UK. However, they did not form part of the research.

About the Author

Andrew Davis joined Callcredit in 2011 to head up a new public sector team. He previously held various management roles within Experian Public Sector most recently as Head of Fraud. Andrew has worked in the Data and Intelligence industry for over 15 years, 6 of which have been focused on the public sector helping it make smarter decisions.

About Callcredit Information Group - www.callcredit.co.uk

Callcredit Information Group's leading approach to deploying consumer information brings together experts across the fields of credit referencing, marketing services, interactive solutions and consultative analytics to provide clients with a range of innovative and effective products to discover new customers and to engage with current customers to optimise and increase profitability.

Products include award-winning fraud verification tools and database solutions to positively verify consumers, global operations to help expand businesses into new markets, digital solutions to improve the overall journey consumers make during interaction with a brand, customer handling to ensure consumer satisfaction at all levels and consumer marketing data and segmentation to improve understanding and targeting of customers and prospects.

Callcredit also offers products for their clients to assess a customer's credit risk and affordability and their experts in collections and recoveries provide tailored debt recovery and tracing tools. Their market analysis and network planning function helps organisations develop profitable retail networks, and their tools in multi bureau, analytics and metrics work to provide fully assessed bureau data.

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