Details of different types of fraud, including: COVID-19 support, tenancy, benefit, council tax, business rate, blue badge and social care fraud.

Covid-19 Business Support Grants

In March 2020 the government announced a scheme to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic by giving them grants of either £10,000 or £25,000.00 depending on their size. 

The money was given to local authorities to distribute. To be allowed to receive a grant, businesses had to have been liable for paying business rates to their local council as of 11th March 2020.

Business rates are a form of tax paid by businesses to their local authority, and are based on the size of the properties they trade from.

They may be some individuals, businesses or organised fraudsters who have targeted this support scheme as an opportunity for personal gain. 

Examples include:

  • businesses which were not trading on 11th March 2020 but have claimed a grant.
  • setting up a fictitious business to claim a grant
  • making false claims about what sector a business operated in, in order to qualify to be paid a grant
  • impersonating a legitimate business or pretending to be a member of their staff to claim a grant

Other forms of COVID-19 Support Scheme Fraud 

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has administered other relief schemes to provide support to businesses and the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic.

These are often referred to as furlough payments. The names of the schemes administered by HMRC are:

  • The Job Retention Scheme 
  • The Self Employment Income Support Scheme 
  • Statutory Sick Pay Support for employers
  • The Eat Out To Help Out Scheme 

You can report fraud involving these schemes on the GOV.UK website.

Tenancy fraud and abuse

Examples include:

  • not living in a council or housing association property as the main residence
  • letting a council or housing association property to someone else
  • continuing to live in a council or housing association property after the tenant has left or died
  • making false claims on an application for a social housing property

Council tax fraud or evasion

Examples include:

  • claiming council tax single persons discount when another person is living at a property
  • not telling the council of a change in circumstance which may affect your council tax reduction benefit
  • claiming reliefs and discounts that you are not really entitled to, like student exemptions

Business rate fraud or evasion

National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR) fraud is when a business avoids paying the correct fees for local services.

A business might avoid paying the costs by:

  • false claims for discounts & reliefs
  • failure to notify liability for National Non-Domestic Rate (NNDR)
  • setting up false companies (known as 'Phoenix Companies') where the assets of one Limited Company are moved to another legal entity so that a debt is written of. The directors usually remain the same and in some cases the new company has the same or a similar name to the failed business

Bribery or corruption

Examples include: 

  • Council officers or Councillors accepting money or gifts from members of the public
  • Council officers or Councillors taking advantage of their position in order to get money or gifts
  • Council officers or Councillors favouring contractors in exchange for money or gifts
  • Contractors bribing a council officers to secure work with the Council

If you suspect a serious case of bribery or corruption, you can report this directly to the Serious Fraud Office.

You can also contact the Serious Fraud Office if you're not satisfied with our response to your bribery or corruption allegation.

Benefit fraud

You can report benefit Fraud on the GOV.UK website or by calling the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440.

Blue badge misuse

Blue badges are issued to persons with a disability. The disability may not always be obvious and may be intermittent. If you see someone parked in a disabled space, but not showing obvious signs of disability, it does not necessarily mean they are not disabled or not entitled to use the space.

Badges can be misused a number of ways.

By the badge holder:

  • parking in the wrong place or parking for too long where there is a time limit
  • using a badge that is no longer valid
  • using a badge that has been reported as lost' or stolen'
  • letting a friend or relative use the badge
  • using a copied badge
  • changing the details on the badge, like the expiry date
  • making a fraudulent application (e.g. providing false information on the application form) or using a badge obtained fraudulently.

By a third party:

  • using someone else's badge without the badge holder being present in the vehicle
  • using a badge belonging to someone who has died
  • copying, altering or faking badges
  • using a stolen badge
  • using a fake badge

Social care fraud and abuse

Examples include:

  • lying about circumstances or exaggerating a care need
  • failing to declare money held in savings or other capital assets such as property
  • a care home or carer continuing to claim financial support after the death of the person needing care
  • using money intended for care, on other things
    • Continuing to receive personal budget when out of the country for long periods

Other fraud

Examples include:

  • price fixing by contractors working for the council
  • contractors or suppliers charging for work not carried out or services not provided
  • internal employee fraud
  • misuse of grant funding by voluntary sector organisations

You can report fraud online.

See our pdf Fraud, Bribery and Corruption Policy and Strategy (744 KB) .