26 February 2016

How social media is being used to catch fraudsters

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Welfare payments make up a third of all government spending in Australia. It is estimated that every year, $3 billion of tax payer’s money is paid to people who have lied about their circumstances. With the increased global use of social media, government agencies including Centrelink, ATO or Medicare are using social media to catch people cheating the welfare system.

It was revealed recently that Centrelink has contracted private investigators to trawl social media accounts of suspected welfare cheats. This is part of the Department of Human Services Taskforce Integrity’s operations to detect, disrupt and prevent non-compliance and fraud.

According to the former Minister for Humans Services, Stuart Robert, the operations have led to 3072 compliance reviews, 1888 cases of overpayment and five arrests on warrants for failing to attend court for welfare fraud offences.
"The success of Taskforce Integrity's initial operations is very promising and clearly demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensure Australia's welfare system supports those who genuinely need a helping hand," said Minister Robert.
"While most people receiving welfare payments are honest and do the right thing, there is a small segment of the community who still think it is okay to cheat the system. Taskforce Integrity will continue to collaborate with its partner agencies to meet the challenges posed by welfare fraud and ensure those individuals who deliberately defraud the system are caught."
Laurie Patton of the lobby group Internet Australia said it was an important lesson for people to be aware that all their social media activities were monitored.
“A lot of people are unaware to the extent to which their private information is available to governments and other agencies,” he said.
“A significant issue is that people are entitled to know what their information is being used for.”

To read more about Taskforce Integrity’s operations, please click here - https://www.humanservices.gov.au/corporate/taskforce-integrity

The best part of my job as a Conference Production Manager is to create and manage my own conferences from concept to delivery, identify future conference topics as well as giving me a chance to expand my business card collection. Having a bit of a sweet tooth, you will always find me having lollies on my desk or you will catch me browsing on fashion sites during lunch breaks.

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