France implements more checks to check unemployment fraud

France is introducing more measures to guard against unemployment benefit fraud, including allowing the Pôle Emploi unemployment office to verify more personal details about claimants.

A new decree now allows the office to obtain more data on job seekers from their bank, energy supplier and mobile phone operator. The move was first decided in December 2020 as part of the 2021 finance law.

The details are set to show that the job seeker:

  • Geographical location (believed to be via applicant’s cell phone)

  • Level of work or level of resources received, “which may be expressed in terms of financial amount or number or frequency of transactions made or payments received”

  • their mode of payment or remuneration

Still, the details will be visible for up to 18 months, meaning the fraud detection office won’t be able to see an individual’s full data history at once.

Pôle emploi will also only be authorized to keep the data collected for a maximum period of three years.

This measure is designed to help detect cases of unemployment benefit fraud. It comes in addition to a decree which allows the employment office to access the “Ficovie” file, which lists all the life insurance and capitalization contracts taken out with French insurance organizations.

The organization can also consult the “Ficoba” file (national file of bank accounts and similar accounts), which lists all the bank accounts opened in France and their holders, as well as the property valuation database, Patrim.

“Super verifier” working group

It comes after France announced the creation of a new “super verifier” task force in 2021. The team is made up of former tax officers and former private detectives, who help the Cnaf (the national fund family allowances) to track down fraudulent claimants. .

The teams are able to detect “high-stakes fraud” and “sophisticated” operations, including those committed by organized gangs.

These crimes tend to be intentional and premeditated, rather than “situational expediency”, CNAF said.

These may be people who use false identities to collect benefits in several departments. For example, a fraudster collected 54 Cnaf (National Family Allowance Fund) payments out of the 101 national funds.

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