If you’ve cheated Centrelink, watch out!

Don’t you love it when cheaters get their just deserts?

Whether they’re cheating romantically, emotionally, financially, whatever – cheating is cheating and when someone doing the dodgy gets caught out, it’s worth celebrating.

In this instance, it’s welfare cheats who are starting to reap the consequences of their creative bookkeeping.


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And it’s all because the government is getting hip to social media, which is allowing them to catch people out who are bragging about their life while ripping off the public purse.

Now this may be showing my age, but back when I was studying at Griffith Uni a million years ago, a girl in my class bragged that she was claiming Austudy payments and ‘living away from home’ rent assistance. This was despite the fact that she was also working 30 hours a week as a waitress and living at home with her parents.

None of us were vindictive enough to report her for her misleading ways, partly because we didn’t really care, and partly because it required too much effort. Calling Centrelink for any reason, even to report someone’s mis-deeds, is a minimum two-hour wait; ain’t nobody got time for that.

But today, you don’t need to report anyone for doing the wrong thing. They’ll generally drop themselves into their own hot water via Facebook as it’s just too damn tempting to keep good news to yourself these days.

This is what the government’s ‘Taskforce Integrity’ has discovered, at least.

Success stories include many discoveries of couples, including one pair who were engaged and expecting a baby, who claimed to be single to receive higher fortnightly allowances.

There are also those who post comments and complaints about their jobs when they’re receiving an unemployment cheque, and people who claim disability pensions, then share stories about their physically demanding hobbies and careers.

Taskforce Integrity is even clawing back money from welfare recipients who sell goods on eBay, without declaring the sale price as income!

It seems to be working for the government’s bottom line, as last year they announced they’ve almost halved the amount they spend on surveillance to catch welfare cheats.

And the message to the rest of us is clear: declare that second fridge you sold on eBay for $50. Or you may end up on the gov’s hit list!