The campaigning group Big Brother Watch (BBW) is investigating the use of commercial software to decide whether you are a fraud risk when you make a claim for universal credit (UC).
According to BBW, many local authorities across the UK are now using “Risk Based Verification” (RBV) – an algorithm assigning a risk score to each new UC application to determine the level of verification needed for processing that claim.
Software is used to decide whether you are low, medium or high risk in relation to making a fraudulent claim.
Low risk cases only have to provide a minimum of proof of identity.
Medium risk cases are likely to be asked for further evidence, such as proof of income, rent, or capital.
People in the high risk category may have to provide original documents rather than copies, as well as other checks ranging from credit checks to telephone interviews or house visits.
One concern of BBW is that local authorities often obtain their Risk Based Verification software from commercial companies without any understanding of how it works or who it might be targeting.
BBW have produced more information and a template letter to allow you to make a subject access request to find out if you were subject to risk based verification and, if so, what information the decision was based on and who the assessment of risk will be shared with.
Find out more from Big Brother Watch