Dialogue Communications helps Local Authority crack down on fraud

Dialogue Communications’ SMS text service has been adopted by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council to try and combat the rising problems of benefit fraud in the county.

The “Text a Fraud’ service has been put in place at the Fraud Investigation Unit using Dialogue’s Community Text messaging service which allows members of the general public who wish to remain anonymous to text their local authority when they suspect benefit fraud is being committed.

Community Text is designed for any company wanting to employ mobile messaging as a direct avenue to its customers. The portal makes setting up mobile messaging campaigns, quick and easy, ensuring their effectiveness. The online service collates a high capacity of mobile data giving its users the opportunity to identify and respond to its customers.

This new method of reporting crime, which has been in place since April, has already achieved outstanding results. The Benefit Fraud Investigations Service has seen a 10% increase in referrals over the past six months and as a result has helped identify over ?435,000 of fraudulently claimed benefit.

“Recent news has highlighted the need for more measures to be implemented to combat benefit fraud and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council has taken the initiative and looked to new technology to help its community. Community Text is ideally suited for their needs because it is online and straightforward to install and it allows them to monitor incoming texts,” commented Paul Griffiths, Dialogue Communications’ Managing Director.

Benefit fraud is a wide spread problem in the community but it seems adopting the new text message system has been a success for the council. Andrew Hardy, Fraud Investigation Manager at the Benefit Fraud Investigations Service, explains: “We do have several lines of communication in place, such as a benefit hotline and an email system but this new SMS service has made a huge impact.”

He added: “Since April we have had over 500 referrals, with 10% of those coming from text. We have made 32 formal cautions, 93 administrative penalties and prosecuted 27 individuals for benefit fraud. We are continually looking for new ways to encourage people to report suspected fraud in confidence and this new text system is an alternative form which seems to be working.”

About Dialogue

Dialogue is a world leader in mobile messaging, mobile electronic payments processing and specialise in the development and rapid deployment of mobile applications that utilise text messaging and mobile multimedia. Its customers include BT, MSN, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and O2. The company has offices in the UK and Australia.

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