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Tip-offs on welfare fraud soar

The number of social welfare fraud tip-offs received by the Department of Social Protection is now more than 20 times what it was in 2006 -- as hard-pressed taxpayers lose patience with those fiddling the system.

The department has received more than 13,000 anonymous tip-offs on suspected social welfare fraud so far this year, well up on the 580 tip-offs made in 2006, when the Celtic Tiger was roaring.

Around a third of the leads received this year were triggered by suspected dole fraud.

Single mothers and fathers were next in the firing line. About one in four of the tip-offs arose from suspicions that a parent claiming the one- parent family payment was not entitled to it.

The other major triggers were illness benefit and the supplementary welfare allowance, which is paid to those who cannot afford their rent or mortgage. Only a tiny fraction of tip-offs related to suspected child benefit fraud.

The department saved about €60m by cracking down on social welfare fraud last year. However, a spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of people are receiving the entitlement due to them each week."

Sunday Indo Business