Centrelink will do more data-matching to find suspected welfare fraud.

Reports say the new program will see Centrelink match Medicare data to target identity, employment or income-based welfare fraud.

“The data-matching program is designed to detect false, manipulated and assumed identities used by customers in submitting multiple claims,” Centrelink said in a recent protocol document [PDF].

“It is also designed to detect false information provided by customers relating to employment, medical eligibility and relationship circumstances.

“A key objective of the data-matching program is to make more comprehensive and strategic use of Medicare data, where matches are used to add intelligence value to cases suspected of being fraudulent.”

The scheme will attempt to match “identities and details” held in Centrelink and Medicare records to look for “individuals who are not recorded as having experienced a series of expected ‘life events’ across both programs.”

“Where expected life events have not occurred this may highlight high-risk identities and the need for further analysis to determine possible fraudulent behaviour and/or record correctness,” Centrelink said.

Currently, fraud assessments are based either on “individual risk indicators”, “staff referrals” or anonymous tip-offs.

“However, DHS [the Department of Human Services] cannot rely on tip-offs from members of the public and staff referrals alone to detect identity fraud,” the agency said.

“This data-matching program aims to build on existing fraud detection methods and current data-matching capabilities by extending the range of information on which investigations are based.

“Information is being sought outside current data-matching programs and will enable a more informed assessment of potential persons of interest and individual circumstances and how this information may relate to the risk of fraudulent behaviour.

“The combination of Medicare registration and usage dates, with Centrelink held ‘life event’ data, provides a unique insight to the use of a claimed identity over time, which cannot be otherwise replicated.”

After the continuing failure of Centrelink’s last data-matching exercise, many have been calling for a new kind of tech oversight.