Handwriting to help Govt catch benefit fraudsters
Artificial intelligence will be used to clamp down on fraudsters claiming millions of pounds of bogus benefit payments.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said its new state-of-the-art algorithms can detect a number of identity cloning techniques which have been commonly used by organised criminal gangs committing mass-scale benefit fraud.
Under the system, investigators will be alerted to fraudsters who use the same phone number or a similar writing style while filling out different false claims.
The connections are buried in billions of files, and it is thought the intelligent computer software will be able to increase prosecutions for whole groups of gangs.
Currently, investigators target individual criminals after Jobcentre Plus workers raise concerns.
The DWP says it has extensively trialled the technology, which will scan across the benefit system, including Universal Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance and Personal Independent Payments.
Last year, about 5,000 people were prosecuted for benefit fraud and a record £1.1bn in overpaid benefits was recovered.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Gauke, said: "We are committed to tackling benefit fraud, especially from organised crime gangs, because it diverts money from the people who really need it.
"Our fraud investigators work tirelessly to bring criminals to justice and this is just one of the latest and innovative ways we are using cutting-edge technology to protect taxpayer's money."
In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced £75m in funding for artificial intelligence.
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Much of the investment will support start-up firms and raise the number of new PhD students in the field to 200 a year.
Funding will also reportedly go towards an advisory body to lift barriers to AI development.