DWP targets benefits fraud gangs with AI
DWP shackles criminal gang fraudsters using AI
DWP criminal gang fraud using AI

DWP targets benefits fraud gangs with AI

NEWSBYTE The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system to tackle criminal gangs that are attempting benefits fraud.

In its Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18, the DWP revealed that it has been focusing on digital transformation, and apparently making huge strides in its use of artificial intelligence.

“We have developed cutting-edge artificial intelligence to crack down on organised criminal gangs committing large-scale benefit fraud,” the report reads.

“We carried out trials using algorithms that can identify different types of organised attacks on the welfare system. The algorithms reveal fake identity-cloning techniques that are commonly used by fraudsters, which are only detectable by intelligent computer programmes capable of searching for anomalies in billions of items of data.”

It is claimed that large-scale abuse of the welfare system costs taxpayers up to £40 million a week. Earlier this year, DWP said it would be trialling an AI system that detects fraudulent claims by searching for certain behaviour patterns, such as benefit applications that use the same phone number, or are written in a similar style. Any suspicious activity is then flagged up to specialist investigators.

The success of the trials is unknown. However, the DWP says that AI is enhancing and informing its fraud-battling efforts overall.

In 2016, 5,000 people were prosecuted for welfare fraud, with £1.1billion recovered. For example, one criminal gang alone was involved in a £2.8 million fraud. It falsely obtained National Insurance numbers to claim handouts over a period of seven years. As a result of the DWP’s investigations, members were jailed for a total of 17 years.

Plus: Law tech ramps up

In related news, the Lord Chancellor unveiled plans today for a panel of industry professionals to support and accelerate the development and adoption of new legal technologies. For example, the Serious Fraud Office is introducing a new AI-enhanced document review system, which can analyse 2,000 documents a day.

He also announced plans for a dedicated fraud and cybercrime court, which will be built on London’s Fleetbank House site.

Internet of Business says

The DWP has been working with AI for a number of years. Back in 2016, Scott Gallacher, former AI and machine learning strategist at the department, told Internet of Business that there was still a long road ahead with the government’s use of AI, but it was an essential tool for both public and private organisations to deploy.

He was brought into DWP to create a vision and roadmap of what could be achieved with AI by 2020. This involved bringing in experts from across the marketplace to create a data authority, which Gallacher described as a “cross-functional group” that assessed problems and determined how to solve them with technology.

For an in-depth analysis of the UK’s government’s AI strategy, turn to our latest in-depth report.