Cifas Homepage
NewsroomCareersContact Us

Single Person Discount fraud increases as 1 in 5 admit to dishonest claims

22 February 2024

Leading fraud prevention service, Cifas, is urging people to stop and think about the lasting impact of Council Tax fraud following a rise in individuals dishonestly claiming Single Person Discount.

Currently, households with only one adult living at the address can apply to receive a 25% discount on their Council Tax Bill. According to recent research carried out by Cifas, 1 in 5 (21%) individuals revealed they, or someone they knew, had fraudulently claimed the discount in the last 12 months – an increase from 19% in 2022.

The survey provided 2,000 UK adults with several common first party fraud scenarios. It asked them to rate how reasonable the actions of the individual were, if they thought these actions were illegal, and whether they, or someone they knew, had committed this type of fraud in the last 12 months.

As many UK households prepare for an average rise of 5% in their council tax bill this year, the research revealed that 10% of respondents thought falsely claiming Single Person Discount was a ‘reasonable’ fraud to commit, with 12% believing it to be legal. Those between 25-34 years-old were most likely to dishonestly claim the discount (37%).

Cifas’ survey also found Single Person Discount fraud to be one of the most ‘common’ first party fraud offences committed in the last 12 months overall, alongside falsifying CV qualifications (21%) and gaming chargeback fraud (21%).

Rachael Tiffen, Director of Public Sector for Cifas, said: ‘UK people are facing various pressures during a cost-of-living crisis, which may be forcing many individuals to look for ways in which to reduce their monthly bills. However, defrauding the public purse and abusing systems that are specifically designed to help households and fund local communities should never be the answer.

‘First party fraud remains a crime, it is not victimless nor is it justifiable. It not only results in serious and long-lasting consequences for the person involved, but also has critical knock-on effects to residents who rely on the council for crucial help.’

David Hill, CEO of SWAP Internal Audit Services, a not-for-profit partnership that works with nearly 40 local authorities, police and fire services, added: ‘Single Person Discount continues to be one of the highest perceived fraud risk areas for councils and can collectively result in tens of millions lost each year, the impact of which forces vital local services to be neglected.

‘Individual attitudes must change towards tax fraud – it is not reasonable nor acceptable to commit. Councils should also ensure that their reporting arrangements are easily accessible to residents, meaning any suspected fraud can be reported swiftly and anonymously through their website.’

Overall, Cifas’ survey revealed 1 in 8 (12%) UK adults have committed one or more first party frauds in the last 12 months – an increase from 10% in 2022 and 8% the year before.


Notes to Editors

For more information, please contact Hayley Paterson, Cifas Press and PR Manager, on 020 4551 7072 or


Survey methodology

The survey was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Cifas with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK people between 7-19 September 2023.


About Cifas

Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2023, Cifas member organisations prevented around £1.3 billion of fraud losses. 


Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud.

Website | LinkedIn | X


About Opinion Matters

Opinion Matters is an independent market research agency that create bespoke market research solutions for businesses, organisations, and agencies worldwide.  Opinion Matters abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Cyber-attacks remain chief concern for nearly three-quarters of UK businesses

27 February 2024

Research from UK-leading fraud prevention service, Cifas, has revealed that nearly three-quarters (73%) of UK corporate businesses believe that cyber-attacks pose the biggest fraud threat to their organisation over the next 12 months.


Cifas research reveals 1 in 6 UK adults have exaggerated earnings to secure a mortgage

31 January 2024

Research carried out by Cifas has revealed that 1 in 6 (16%) UK adults have admitted that they, or someone they know, have misled mortgage companies about their annual salary in order to purchase their dream home.

Back to newsroom >
Posted by: Cifas Press Team

Contact us at