Most county and state agencies make it easy to anonymously report welfare fraud. Welfare is an expensive cost to taxpayers, and state and local governments feel pressure to stamp out abuses. Government agencies will accept anonymous reports from anyone, including family members. A report of welfare fraud by a family member is likely to receive priority treatment because most states have limited fraud-investigation resources and the family member may have firsthand knowledge of the fraud.
Contact the Department of Social Services
Social services departments administer welfare programs and field welfare-related inquiries from the public. Obtain the number for the social services department in your county by going online or calling city hall or a charitable organization such as the Salvation Army or Urban League. Tell the representative at the department of social services that you want to report a family member for welfare fraud. The representative may take your complaint or direct you to a statewide hotline for reporting welfare fraud. Call that number, if applicable.
Report specifics about the type of fraud, but do not give your name or telephone number if you wish to remain anonymous. Some state laws may require that your name be listed in public documents if you disclose it. Instead, describe yourself as a family member with inside knowledge about the fraud. In general, you should be able to report fraud without giving your personal information, but do check with the agency that your identity will be protected.
Give Facts Surrounding the Fraud
Agencies require information to allow them to investigate the fraud allegation. Be prepared to give the names of the people suspected of fraud and the type of fraud they have committed such as selling food benefits distributed through welfare or collecting benefits while hiding income. Some agencies may require you to send in documentation of the alleged fraud such as paper records, video evidence or anything else that may be useful.
Report Fraud in Writing or Online
Send an anonymous letter by mail, fax or online if you would rather not talk to an investigator – even anonymously. Some states have online reporting systems so go online to find out the options for filing fraud reports. The state of Washington, for example, accepts anonymous reports by mail, fax and online. In most cases, you'll need to file the report in the state where the family members lives, or the state where they committed the fraud if different.
- Do not disclose your name if you wish to remain anonymous. Some state laws may require that your name be listed in public documents if you disclose it.
Robert Lee has been an entrepreneur and writer with a background in starting small businesses since 1974. He has written for various websites and for several daily and community newspapers on a wide variety of topics, including business, the Internet economy and more. He studied English in college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Governor's State University.