14 November 2017
First Choice Homes Oldham is tackling housing fraud with a new investigation team.
This week is International Fraud Awareness Week (November 12-18) and with the recent launch of their Fraud Investigation Service, First Choice Homes want to make customers aware that they can help to reduce housing fraud.
The new service has a dedicated team who will investigate housing fraud claims and pursue them further. This ensures that all homes available are offered to people who are in genuine housing need.
Paula Field, Community Legal Manager at First Choice Homes, said: “We have a number of ex police officers and benefit fraud investigators in our team and their skills and knowledge in investigating cases is invaluable. If we suspect that someone is committing housing fraud we will use a number of resources such as information from GMP and credit agencies to support our case. Ultimately, people may lose their home if it is proven that fraud has been committed. We are asking customers to help us by providing information where they believe or suspect that fraud is happening.”
There are currently more than 20,000 households on Oldham’s housing list.
Houses that are left empty by people committing housing fraud can mean that families, homeless and vulnerable people have to wait longer for housing.
Housing fraud happens when somebody rents out their social housing property without permission, or when someone uses false information to get a property. First Choice Homes are encouraging people to report incidents of fraud within their communities so the service can continue to crack down.
In 2016 housing fraud cost UK taxpayers over £1.8 billion and is impacting housing associations across the country. Money that if used elsewhere could help with the current housing crisis.
Customers can report it anonymously at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Service Centre on 0161 393 7117