ID cards will spearhead anti-fraud battle

High-tech fraud fight plans unveiled

High-tech fraud fight plans unveiled

Identity cards, voice stress analysis and better data matching are at the heart of government plans to slash benefit fraud.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said new technology will help it cut the £3bn it loses every year to errors and fraud and it plans to use the identity card across "all" of its operations to combat identity and other frauds.

The government department said it will take "full advantage of the biometric facilities provided by the identity card when ascertaining an individual's right to benefit".

It said the data provided by the new National Identity Register will enable the DWP to check individuals' addresses more quickly.

The card will also help prevent work in the "informal economy", it said: "Provided the 'right to work' status is captured on the card or its supporting database and is accessible to DWP and employers, it will become easier to check that workers have a legitimate right to work."

The DWP also plans to take a few lessons from financial services organisations that have been tackling fraud: "We are looking at testing more innovative ways of preventing fraudulent claims over the phone - including the use of the latest technology that may be available such as voice stress analysis and other similar techniques in use within the financial sector - to help identify suspect claims."

It will also run a pilot, early in 2006, to evaluate the effectiveness of matching data with credit reference agencies to identify fraud - and estimates this will help spot fraud 18 months earlier than currently possible, saving £40m per year.

Benefits minister James Plaskitt said in a statement: "New technology and more sophisticated use of data sources will ensure we are even more effective in tackling fraud wherever and whenever it happens."