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Identity fraud…  June 7, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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There’s been much made of the fact that… 

The Department of Social Protection has identified just one suspected case of identity fraud this year, it has emerged.

The department said in response to a parliamentary question that 134 suspected cases had been identified between 2014 and April this year, with 21 successful prosecutions so far, and 18 people receiving custodial sentences.

And there’s a lovely irony in the fact that, as recounted here:

Sinn Féin TD Denise Mitchell said this year’s single case showed that there had been no need for Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar to launch an advertising campaign last month to encourage the reporting of social-welfare fraud. The campaign, which uses the slogan Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All, has cost €200,845.

“It is extraordinary that the Social Protection Minister could take to the national airwaves and start waffling about people wearing false beards and make-up to fraudulently claim welfare payments when the department has no records to back up these assertions,” she said.

But there’s a deeper point as well. It is the embedded belief amongst some that the state is being defrauded to an huge extent by those on social welfare. Given that the facts point to the opposite it is a belief remarkably impermeable to factual information.

I can’t help but think that it is one of those comforting memes that allow some not just a sense of superiority over those in a position where they are on social welfare (and thus their being on social welfare is not just an economic circumstance but a moral or other failing) but also a means of putting them beyond, marking them as other, and effectively as criminal other.

Of such things are identities made.

Perhaps it is also born of fear. The fear in a system where private sector jobs are impermanent and sometimes fragile that drives people to vocally express their own virtue and seek out its opposite in others.

Of course welfare fraud is low. There’s increasing employment (at least on the east coast and in Dublin). The economic needs are addressed by a growing economy. As has long been noted here on this site, during the late 1990s onwards when growth was very large there was near enough what is considered to be ‘full employment’ in this economy (in the technical sense of the term ‘full employment’). In other words all those who would reasonably expected to be working in an economy were and those who weren’t weren’t for reasons such as injury, illness, inability and a small fringe which was marginal to economic activity who wouldn’t. Give jobs, reasonable jobs with reasonable prospects, and the clear outcome is that people will work.

Varadkar’s use of this was particularly low given those facts. But one can imagine him arguing, ‘it’s politics, just politics’ as he appealed to an FG base some of who would find the idea of social welfare criminality would align neatly with their own world-view.

Yet this is the man who is most likely to be Taoiseach in a week or so. That tells us something, does it not?

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Comments»

1. Jim Monaghan - June 7, 2017

Am I right in thinking I heard that one associate of the London murderers had “lent” his PPS number to someone.

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An Cathaoirleach - June 8, 2017

The bomber had sold it on, it appears. It is a common enough practice.

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2. dublinstreams - June 7, 2017

Leo Varadkar: My Department gave inaccurate figures. The level of suspected identity fraud is, in fact, 11 times higher than the figures we incorrectly gave to the House the other day. I will give them again. There have been 11 cases so far this year. https://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2017-05-31a.349&s=11+speaker%3A267#g356

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sonofstan - June 7, 2017

Or a 1000% increase!!!

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An Cathaoirleach - June 8, 2017

I would suggest that almost all ID fraud is not on the SW side, rather relates to employment. The individual may continue to collect DSP payments in her/his own name and work using a relative’s PPS No. or one obtained through another source.

Normally PPS No. is useless without a bank account in the same name as almost all wages & salaries are paid directly into bank accounts.

PAYE Regulations were amended in 2002 to oblige an employer to check,

” Where, for the purposes of this Regulation an employee furnishes the employer with his or her personal public service number, the employer shall take all reasonable measures to establish that the number furnished is in fact the personal public service number of that employee.”

However “reasonable” is not defined. Without national ID cards, there is no agreed form of ID checks.

ID fraud is rampant in the hospitality trade, contract cleaning etc., involving both Irish and other nationalities. The degree of knowledge of owners is unclear, but managers & supervisors are likely to be heavily involved. Individuals may operate using more than one PPS no at a time, e.g. using different PPS Nos for different part-time jobs,

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3. Dermot O Connor - June 7, 2017

Tories would rather spend 10, 20 or 30 million euros to root out 10 or 15 thousand euros worth of fraud, AND create a new layer of metastasizing bureaucracy, than just assume that working people AREN’T scum, and, y’know, people with dignity who would rather NOT be on handouts.

The assumption that poor people are frauds also gives the middle class bourgeois types an excuse for moral grandstanding. Preening hypocrites.

I’ve been watching ‘Broken’ (starring Sean Bean as a very weary priest; written by Jimmy McGovern (Cracker)); like ‘I, Daniel Blake’, another fictional look at the kafkaesque double-binds that tories love to inflict on the working and non-working classes. The show has a very similar depiction of the soul-less jobsworths who work in the welfare offices, clearly taking pleasure from their roles as cogs. No doubt Leo will want more of this in Ireland, being a good rightist “mini-me”.

This crap is clearly NOT about money; it’s about destroying people’s spirit and keeping them afraid – just like in the good old USA. It’s in the air here (you can feel it when you step off the plane), nice to see it spread.

I always tell younger people that when a politician says “There’s no money for…” that they’re performing a mental reservation. What they really mean is that “There’s no money ((for you))”.

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