Telephone lie detectors

  TopCat® 14:33 04 Dec 2008

I see that 'Birmingham City Council are to install a telephone lie detection system in an effort to combat benefit cheats...' click here

I'm all for clamping down on benefit cheats and fraudsters, but I think getting through just one phonecall and then be 'fast-tracked and avoid more rigorous vetting' is not good enough. In my opinion the money spent on this would be much better used on face-to-face contact with claimants under the eye of adequately trained interviewers.

What are members views on this? TC.

  The Brigadier 14:43 04 Dec 2008

Sadly not all devices like this work 100%.
If your voice dips or you take to long to answer a question the software see's that as your trying to hide something.

  anchor 14:48 04 Dec 2008

Harrow, in NW London, have been piloting this for over a year.

click here

  Pine Man 15:10 04 Dec 2008

Anything that weeds out benefit cheats who are stealing OUR money is worth a try.

  Cymro. 16:26 04 Dec 2008

As someone who has to live on benefits and so sometimes has to use the phone to sort out something or other regarding my benefit I am not too sure what to make of it to be honest.

It could well make me at least a little nervous when on the phone with these people and that nervousness might be interpreted as my guilt of some misdemeanor or other.

Still they are more than welcome to come over and interview me and see for themselves that all my claims are in order. I probably have more time to spare than some but I wonder how much time the benefits investigators have to waste.

  johndrew 16:35 04 Dec 2008

Insurance companies have been using such a system for some years. Apparently it works by picking up on stress or anomalies in the voice - how this affects you when your house is on fire I`m not sure.

For benefit claims, I presume they would use it to determine whether there are discrepancies that need investigating. Seems a good idea; the proof will be in whether it helps catch the fraudsters and reduces the work load on the investigative teams with any high level of accuracy.

Overall it must be worth a try.

  Cymro. 17:21 04 Dec 2008

If it reduces the time spent on catching the fraudsters then they might have more time to sort out all the underpayments that are made to genuine claimants every year.

  Forum Editor 19:01 04 Dec 2008

that this scheme will be a failure.

  laurie53 20:28 04 Dec 2008

Even if it gives a false positive I doubt very much if benefits would be stopped or refused on the basis of just one phone call.

  TopCat® 20:43 04 Dec 2008

Ah, someone with similar reservations about this. Can you say why you think it will fail, Peter?

I think actually confronting a claimant offers the investigator the means to assess the attitude, mannerisms, composure and apparent honesty of the person during the interview. Steady eye-to-eye contact, or rather the lack of it, is a good pointer to whether that person is telling the truth, in my book. TC.

  WhiteTruckMan 00:02 05 Dec 2008

if this technology were to be used in a clandestine manner. I think it may be worth trialling, in some areas to see if it has a marked reduction in fraud. However, the simple act of informing someone that they will be subject to voice stress analysis may be enough to deter some.

I think people should be given the opportunity to refuse such methods without prejudicing their case, and to be able to attend a face to face meeting.


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