Hundreds report employers to HMRC over furlough fraud

HMRC said it had received 795 reports of employers fraudulently using the furlough scheme
James Veysey/Shutterstock

Almost 800 people have reported their employers to HM Revenue and Customs alleging they are fraudulently claiming money from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

HMRC confirmed it has received 795 reports of potential fraud related to the furlough scheme, which was yesterday extended until the end of October. It will now assess these cases in line with its usual fraud procedures. A spokesperson said the department could not break down the numbers any further at this time.

Under the rules of the furlough scheme, workers must not complete any work for their employer in order for their role to be eligible for the grant, which covers 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

However, whistleblowing organisations have heard numerous reports from individuals that their employers are asking them to continue to work, despite receiving furlough support.

Liz Gardiner, CEO of Protect, a whistleblowing support body, told Sky News today that the organisation had received a high number of calls to its advice line on furlough fraud.

“We expect this is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “In this time of unprecedented change, when people are really worried about their jobs. It’s a really difficult thing to stand up and say ‘I think you’re committing fraud and I’m going to report you’.”

Another group, WhistleblowersUK, said up to a fifth of calls had been from employees in the care sector. Its CEO Georgina Halford-Hall told Sky News: “I’m sure employers are in a very difficult situation not knowing when an invoice might be paid.

“But to put their employees, who are really dedicated to those people they have got to know in the community, in a position where they’re having to choose between committing a criminal act, or not having a job, or not look after the old people they’re caring for, it really is a disgrace, a national disgrace.”

A spokesperson for HMRC said it “is committed to ensuring the tax systems we operate are used fairly and efficiently and where necessary will take action to ensure compliance with the relevant rules, regulations and legislation that govern the UK taxation systems.

“We value all the information provided to us by members of the public aimed at helping us achieve that goal.”

HMRC urges anyone who believes their employer is fraudulently claiming CJRS support to use its digital reporting service. Any information will be treated confidentially and statistical reporting is anonymous.

Announcing the extension to the furlough scheme yesterday, which will also mean staff can return to work part-time from August, chancellor Rishi Sunak said that at least 7.5 million jobs in the UK had been placed on furlough, supporting around 1 million businesses.

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54 Responses to Hundreds report employers to HMRC over furlough fraud

  1. Avatar
    Lady J 14 May 2020 at 10:49 am #

    Already. If found and proven guilty they should be closed down for ever and directors banned from opening even a lemonade stand at charity event.

    This is modern slavery and very disgusting.

  2. Avatar
    Durga 14 May 2020 at 7:38 pm #

    How to complain about forloug Because company cheating

  3. Avatar
    Abdul 14 May 2020 at 9:49 pm #

    Not only asking them to work, the condition is they have to Pay them within 14 days of the claim or already paid them, some employers asking staff to claim UC while they collect money from HMRC.
    Some they ask they stop them working while claim money and not giving them.

    • Avatar
      Armando 15 May 2020 at 2:42 pm #

      I would like to speak with you about this , I’m in the same boat as you.

    • Avatar
      Ahmadzai 16 May 2020 at 3:40 am #

      Hey Abdul it’s the same thing with I didn’t get my furlough because the company I work for telling me that the furlough hasn’t been paid to you we can’t pay so I already need help to know if the company I work for it’s cheating with me any help please I really need to pay off my bills and etc please suggest anything that I can find out if the company is missing around with thanks

      • Avatar
        N 18 May 2020 at 8:46 pm #

        Hello my friend I’m in same position as company telling me I’m furloughed but I haven’t been paid in 7 weeks on the phone to fraud office tomorrow as I keep being told I’m getting paid but nothing yet so I’m sure he pocketed my furlough money.

  4. Avatar
    Baloch 14 May 2020 at 11:44 pm #

    Public should respect the government and HMRC. We should be thanks to hmrc that they look after us and our families in this hard time. Shame to the fraudster

  5. Avatar
    Tom 15 May 2020 at 5:25 am #

    How does self employed get to work and claim furlogh . people were I live have jus received payment of it and yet still earned a full wage

    • Avatar
      Larry 15 May 2020 at 4:56 pm #

      Same where I live Tom
      I know some one working 7 days a week and still getting the 80%

    • Avatar
      Ian 31 May 2020 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Tom, When the self employed people put in next years tax returns hmrc will find out, I would think they would have to pay it all back,Hmrc are not stupid,

  6. Avatar
    Mimalta 15 May 2020 at 9:29 am #

    I had suspect this, my company must have clai.ed and pay less to. Prior to the clai., my rate reflected higher rate but change after the first pay and the co.pany sent a mail sayinng it was wrongly calculate. A subtraction was were made on the subsequent payment which take my wage back to next to nothing as we get paid weekly. Some colleagues even confirm zero payments reflected on their payslips. The taxes and NI deduction does not reflect on my HRMC portal, something is not right, just waiting to see how it plays out.

    • Avatar
      arch 18 May 2020 at 5:56 pm #

      where do you work? my company has done similar!

  7. Avatar
    Johndmchale 15 May 2020 at 12:07 pm #

    And a jail sentence

  8. Avatar
    Carlos Rodrigues 15 May 2020 at 12:14 pm #

    I’m a EU immigrant, living in the UK for the past 27th years, working as chef in the hospitality industry and now with corona virus I’ve been put on the furlough scheme , but the problem is that I didn’t get any payment from my current employer.

    He keeps saying that he didn’t get any payment from the government and to hold on with my rent and food.
    Personally I think it’s a ridicule excuse, considering that the government made the application as easy as possible .
    I feel like I’ve been treeded as someone who’s inferior and it’s my fault of the virus turning up in Britain .
    Carlos Rodrigues.

    • Avatar
      Stev 15 May 2020 at 2:32 pm #

      If you were on the payee roll, and been working and paid in February 2020 you should be getting this pay look into this it may be your employer is pocketing the cash

      • Avatar
        Black 15 May 2020 at 4:55 pm #

        My employer claimed and is keeping the payment and tells me there is nothing I can do about it. Well I have a surprise for him

    • Avatar
      Ahmad 16 May 2020 at 3:42 am #

      Hey same thing with please if you know any advice let me know as well thanks

    • Avatar
      N 18 May 2020 at 8:49 pm #

      Hello Carlos contact acas that’s what I’ve done your entitled to it.

  9. Avatar
    Lins 15 May 2020 at 3:20 pm #

    Can I ask…..are companies allowed to Unfurlough employees to work say 2 days then refurlough them again straight after? I was under the impression it was worked in 3 week instalments?

  10. Avatar
    Pawan Kumar 15 May 2020 at 3:37 pm #

    People are working cash and getting furlough employers helping them some employer helping staff to uc. So many people I know

  11. Avatar
    Employee 15 May 2020 at 4:01 pm #

    I was dismissed because refused to work when on furlough.

  12. Avatar
    Jevon Davies 15 May 2020 at 4:31 pm #

    What if your furloughed and then another employee goes and does your job.

  13. Avatar
    Tina Newman 15 May 2020 at 4:40 pm #

    The thing is you call HMRC and they will not give you the info as ur not the employer. My company made the claim on the 20th april, my salary date is the 4th may and apparently they still haven’t recd it, until today and it’s now nearly 5PM and I still don’t have the funds. My rent is 3 weeks late, I’ve been shouted by my manager for being persistent etc. This situation is hard but there is no support with regards to the employer being able to check up on the company they work for to see if they are holding funds back. My mental health has deteriorated due to extra unnecessary stress and spending every day in the phone seeking help and trying to manage bills etc.

  14. Avatar
    Bano 15 May 2020 at 4:42 pm #

    They government has provided for the business owners rather then the average worker. Many small business not been paid grant as landlord pays the council tax. Making him eligible for grant not the small units his rented out.
    So landlord still gets his rent from small unit holders and the grant from governmment.

  15. Avatar
    Gulzar Issa 15 May 2020 at 8:32 pm #

    In leicester the garment manufacturers have working through the lockdown and crowded conditions no face coverings and i bet they will all be claiming the wages claiming they were closed come to nottingham road its so busy with people mahal business centre

  16. Avatar
    Princess Buthelezi 15 May 2020 at 9:00 pm #

    My name is Princess please help me I’ve experienced the same thing with my employer.

    • Avatar
      Ahmed 30 May 2020 at 7:32 am #

      Contact the HMRC and report

  17. Avatar
    MARUF AHMED 15 May 2020 at 9:11 pm #

    Please do not show any mercy if you catch them. @HMRC

    • Avatar
      Anonymous 19 May 2020 at 10:48 pm #

      I tried calling HMRC the other week to report the director, but they said they can’t do anything as I’m not in a director’s position. It can only be a director who speaks to them about it, but sadly at my workplace there’s only one director.

      • Avatar
        Anonymous 19 May 2020 at 10:49 pm #

        HMRC are sadly useless with this one I’m afraid to say.

  18. Avatar
    Ahmad 16 May 2020 at 3:45 am #

    The company I work for is telling me that my furlough hasn’t been paid for the past two months but the rest of the staff works with me got paid already please let me know if anyone knows how to find out if the company I work for it’s been playing with me without paying me a penny thanks

  19. Avatar
    Ahmad 16 May 2020 at 3:47 am #

    Stev how can you look into it if my employer pocketing my money please thanks

    • Avatar
      John Doe 26 May 2020 at 8:28 am #

      Call them out on Social media if possible.

  20. Avatar
    Alex 18 May 2020 at 5:08 am #

    If I am on furlough + working normally but still getting 80% how to report my employer to pay me Extra money.

  21. Avatar
    mark munro 18 May 2020 at 2:00 pm #

    How can i check if the recruitment agency i work for has declared me furloughed and claimed the money through the furlough scheme?
    I have been out of work for 2 and a half months specifically due to corona virus (Kuehne&Nagel greatly effected).
    The recruitment agency is saying i am not entitled to furlough because i turned down work even though i have a full time contract and have been employed for 9 months with a full time contract.
    I have received no p45and the K&N managers are saying the recruitment agency is lying and even wrote me a letter on my request saying the contract has not ended.
    Should i report for fraud?
    I honestly feel like they are claiming the money and keeping it for them selves.

    • Avatar
      Ian 31 May 2020 at 7:27 pm #

      All you have to do is,Login to the government furlough scheme,It will won’t your identity such as (Utr number,passport number,Or drivers licence id,National insurance number, Then you should know what you need to know

  22. Avatar
    Amanda 18 May 2020 at 2:16 pm #

    My employer told me that they couldnt furlough the staff because thir accountant had laid us off and yet they got a grant.surely if they got the grant then they could of furloughed us. Also i have asked for my p45 several times but they wont send it. Am i right in smelling a rat ?

  23. Avatar
    Very fed up 19 May 2020 at 8:26 pm #

    I get paid two weeks behind last week I got two weeks furlough payout told two weeks this week where with this week it should be 3 weeks I’m owed no monye in bank i text my boss answer was got better things to do as member staff got rushed into hospital he dont know when I’m getting paid how he allowed to get furlough pay and not back date it us .new excuse waiting for furlough pay to go into his bank

  24. Avatar
    Anonymous 19 May 2020 at 10:45 pm #

    My boss has put us on “furlough” but he/she is still getting us to voluntarily do work. Nobody has said anything as we’re too scared. I tried calling HMRC the other week anonymously to report the director & did my bit, but they did not listen to me at all & said they can only speak the employer on the matter, This is illegal activity & needs to be dealt with. Company directors get away with so much, it’s the ones beneath who get messed around.

    If any company is caught breaching the furlough regulations, they should be struck off & the director disqualified from getting a position as a director in any other company. I’ve seen lots of directors getting fines, but to them that is a slap on the wrist. They need to be punished further.

    • Avatar
      Zohaib Ibrahim 30 May 2020 at 9:41 pm #

      Yes, I’m having the same problem. HMRC don’t seem to care. I’ve called them 5 or 6 times but have given up. Left my details but not heard a word, the director is still walking free with (I bet) a smug look on his face knowing he’s able to exploit us & get away with it. Guilty as anything & I even said in my forms when submitting them to HMRC that I’ve got lots of evidence of him not abiding by the furlough regulations but they haven’t once contacted me. Shame on them & shame on my employer!

  25. Avatar
    Jarris roseller Requiz 24 May 2020 at 8:00 pm #

    If I am on furlough + working normally but still getting 80% how to report my employer to pay me Extra money.

    • Avatar
      Ian 31 May 2020 at 7:45 pm #

      Hi Jarris,If you have been working normally and also claimed furlough then be prepared,Hmrc will won’t the money back,You should have looked at the guidelines that who can claim furlough,

  26. Avatar
    John Doe 26 May 2020 at 8:25 am #

    Im going through this too. Agency with holding my money. Look on your hmrc tax for this year and you will see how fraudulent your company is really. I have received payment of £350. My online hmrc account is showing iv been payed over 3k since the new tax year. Twitter/social media is a good platform to call out your employer if holding back payments. Il try this first then the fraud squad at hmrc i think. Good luck people.

  27. Avatar
    Amelia 26 May 2020 at 9:52 am #

    I’m receiving my payslips from my work but still have not received one single furlough payment. I cannot claim any benefits either because they are sending me payslips and looks like they are paying me but after explaining to them and offering to show my bank statements as proof, they wont help me. Any one else still waiting for furlough payments?

  28. Avatar
    Mark 28 May 2020 at 12:24 pm #

    Hi how do i find out if my employer is still claiming furlough for me as I am back at work

    • Avatar
      Ian 31 May 2020 at 8:15 pm #

      Hi Mark,It won’t be your problem if he or she is or not,Hmrc will punish people who committing the act fraud,Hmrc are not stupid,They will find out everything sooner than you think.So not your problem my friend, Do the crime then pay the fine

      • Avatar
        Anonymous 1 Jun 2020 at 11:21 am #

        Wish I could share your optimism Ian. I’ve reported the director & the company to HMRC a few times within the past 2 months via phone & their online form because we are furloughed but being told to carry out work. However, HMRC haven’t done anything. My latest payslip came through on Friday 29th May & it said I was still a furloughed employee.

  29. Avatar
    Robert Carwardine 29 May 2020 at 2:45 am #

    My p60 says £7801.66. I worked out that 80% ÷ 12 months would give me 520 but my emoyer only gives me 316 …what can I do to find out why this is. Employer says an outside payroll company does the pay not them..i feel im being cheated.

  30. Avatar
    russ 29 May 2020 at 8:10 am #

    My employer told me to go back to work 3 weeks into lockdown, I worked for a further 3 weeks and made a fuss about it being dangerous, he told me to go back furlough now he is paying me SSP, not a happy chappy, he is obviously ripping hmrc off.

  31. Avatar
    Kevin 29 May 2020 at 9:31 am #

    My hours have been cut by 20% since the start of lockdown how do I find out if I have furloghed and still working.

  32. Avatar
    John mury 29 May 2020 at 3:56 pm #

    How can i check if my boss is furloughing me and not paying me. My bennifits are suspended as they say i havent reported earnings over last month, which i cant because i havent had any pay from work

  33. Avatar
    selim apa 1 Jun 2020 at 12:10 pm #

    since 02.03.2020 i have git a sick lane and continue until 12.06.2020.i work for restaurant company(ltd.singh)temporary closed on 22.03.2020 after 4 weeks times they open for collection or home deliveries but as i m on sick lane i didnt returned my job alao even if my doctor tell me i can return my job as covid 19 rushed in i m out until end of the october as government information about furlough planning.but before open and after they open they asked me to work i said immposible regarding to my sick lane and waiting on longlist at hospital for scan…but before furlough about 15th of the march company reported to hmrc 1365£ income related me.but i work for him part time and raffly 610 £ between 620£.however apparently he s done this grabb more money with my name as a furlough %80 percent after mr.rishy sunak information about employers and employees.but company first furlough payment was on 8th of may after 47 days later only 534£ .i wrote him by whats up a lot regarding matter also he s reporting hmrc he shows on my payslip that hes paying me sick lane (ssp)but he s not giving me any penny.he didnt pay a single penny.also after all this matter universal credit stopped my benefit on march reason is company reported big amount money as my income as soon as i called universal credit they told me i should speak with my employer to fix problem and mistakes being taken,and i take this as advice i let company about it all…they said accountant mistake which is accountant wouldnt do mistake as employer reporting accountant as well unfortunately i learned this is an employer i started new fresh claim while i m not working as universal credit but on march i lost my house rent,ssp payment half from government as usually employer was covering half of my they didnt pay a penny yet.after all this matter 2 days ago i said to company owner face why you did this and i will complain about you and the company.he urgently transfer another 309£as furlough to my bank account so he know it whats he i m asking him do my payments as i need it and his business doing ok but hes not paying my ssp.also i asked him if you dont pay my money i never return my job while i love doing my job because if i return it dies mean i accepted all hus fraud and cheating on my i asked him nicely pay my money or you give me notice with also paying 2 weeks notice wages,this year (11)month holiday payment and my ssp payments with sending my i can let government know that i lost my job because i m againest my employer fraud.(company cheating)anybody can advice faster procedure or way to follow please advice me.thank you for reading and answering…

  34. Avatar
    Tom butcher 1 Jun 2020 at 7:56 pm #

    Melbourne tea rooms in derby are making all there staff work every weekend while they are on furlough and the staff are to scared to say anything

  35. Avatar
    Barry 2 Jun 2020 at 12:39 pm #

    Dentist everywhere are claiming furlough and making their staff work , and paying them only the furlough !
    Seems to me this profession is abusing the governments kindness

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