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National Insurance: Fraud

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of national insurance numbers which were used for fraudulent purposes in each of the last five years. (242172)

The national insurance number (NINO) is a unique personal reference number used for tax, national insurance contributions, social security benefits, state pension, tax credit and student loan award purposes. The number links an individual with their tax payments and national insurance contributions to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions, and is needed to make a claim to benefit. Estimates of NINOs used fraudulently for all of these purposes are not available.

DWP has robust checks in place to prevent NINOs being used fraudulently within the benefit system. Where DWP identifies that a NINO has been used for attempted benefit fraud or where DWP is aware that a NINO may be vulnerable to fraudulent use, the relevant NINO record is annotated accordingly. Any subsequent benefit claim using that NINO would automatically be subjected to close scrutiny, and if appropriate, referral to DWP’s Fraud Investigation Service.

The number of NINO accounts annotated for these reasons over the last five years is in the following table.

Number of marked accounts

2003-04

2,341

2004-05

1,087

2005-06

2,521

2006-07

2,965

2007-08

3,234