CRIMINAL gangs used Photoshop to scam the Department for Work and Pensions out of £8.5billion last year.
The swindlers have been editing themselves into screenshots taken from Google Maps in a bid to outsmart counterfraud officers,
However, according to The Times, the DWP was able to screen out roughly 172,000 fraudulent applications last year.
Some examples of the benefit fraud scam are shown in photos, with people posing as though they were standing by their front door.
The DWP asked these con artists to snap the pictures after growing suspicious that they were obtaining benefits in the UK while residing overseas.
The DWP’s team quickly determined that the images were fake when they got them.
The fake photos’ backdrops were obviously stolen from Google Street View, and the people were added using Photoshop.
Although it’s estimated that the DWP review team’s sharp eyes saved the British taxpayer £2 billion last year, it’s also estimated that fraudulent claims still totaled £8.5 billion.
The Counter Fraud, Compliance and Debt Directorate employees also think that many of the false claims are the work of gangs.
One analyst’s observation that the same lime green door showed repeatedly in images provided by claimants attempting to prove they were British led to the suspicion.
“That entryway, which thieves view as the key to success in terms of fraud, is significant,” said Tom Pursglove, minister of state for disabled persons, health, and employment. That photograph is quite pricey.
“Over the previous two years, the team has received thousands of falsified and created documents to try and pursue claims while being abroad,” a member of the Counter Fraud, Compliance, and Debt Directorate staff said.
Once this pattern is found, the fraud investigators promptly share this information with other offices across the nation so that they are aware that the claimants in any additional images are from the same batch.
“These proficient fraud investigators can swiftly identify, stop, and correct any emerging fraud area.”