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Furlough fraud reports surge to 26,000 – how Britons can report the ‘unacceptable’ issue

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Furlough fraud has unfortunately proven itself to be a widespread issue within the last year. It involves the exploitation of the Government’s official Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for one’s own financial gain. Furlough money gained through fraud can often be used for unscrupulous purposes, and could cause issues for those who genuinely claim.

“Six to 12 months down the line, it will really come home to roost how much money has been paid out.

“It will then be easy for the Government and HMRC to fall into the mindset of raking as much money back as possible paid in breach of the rules.

“It is money for old rope – if they have clear cases of furlough fraud then it is going to be straightforward to get it back.”

The cost of furlough support has been extensive as it is estimated the Government has shelled out close to £57billion in supporting millions of jobs across the country.

However, the cost of furlough fraud is also extensive, and HMRC is looking to hit back at those who believe they can exploit the system. 

An HMRC spokesperson spoke to Express.co.uk about the matter, saying: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has provided a lifeline to millions of people across the UK and fraudulent claims are unacceptable.

“It is taxpayers’ money and fraud limits our ability to support people and deprives public services of essential funding.

“At the Budget, the Chancellor committed £100 million to HMRC to tackle the minority who deliberately claim help scheme money they’re not entitled to.

“We’d ask anyone concerned that an employer might be abusing the scheme, or anyone with information about suspected fraud, to please contact us.

“All information is assessed and the most appropriate course of action taken.”

For those who do wish to report the issue o suspected furlough fraud, the Government has designated specific channels by which to do so.

The Government website has a specific page entitled ‘Report HMRC-administered coronavirus relief scheme fraud’ which enables Britons to fill out a form anonymously. 

In addition, there is an official COVID fraud hotline which is open 24/7, 365 days a year to report suspicions. 

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