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Reporting Fraud-Investigations

Public assistance programs are designed out of good-will to help those in need. Fraud and abuse diminish services for those who truly need them. Therefore, we take fraud and abuse seriously.

Our Inspections Branch reduces, investigates, and prosecutes fraud and abuse of public assistance programs. You can report suspected fraud by calling the fraud hotline at (800) 344-8477.

We also handle Children’s Services very seriously. The Inspections Branch conducts background checks on adults who seek to get involved in a child’s life, helps with high risk transports, assists law enforcement, conducts special investigations involving missing children, and handles various security needs that impact our department.

Below are some units that are part of the inspections branch.

Special Investigations Unit

The Special Investigations Unit investigates and prosecutes those who commit welfare fraud. You can report suspected fraud by calling the fraud hotline at (800) 344-8477 or by emailing DPSSInspections_Helpdesk@rivco.org or fax your complaint to the fraud hotline fax at 951-358-6505.

Fraud Early Detection Unit

The Fraud Early Detection Unit includes investigative technicians who work to prevent and reduce fraud through education and early detection. The unit interviews customers, reviews customer applications, and verifies facts that customers provide when they apply for benefits. We work to prevent fraud before it happens.

Criminal Records Review and Match Unit

The Criminal Records Review Unit conducts background checks for the Children’s Services Program. The Match Unit cross-checks information from all across the country. This includes prisoners, those who have died, and other mandated cross checks to reduce the potential for fraud.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is welfare fraud?

When an individual gives false or incomplete information in order to receive public benefits they’re not entitled to, it is considered welfare fraud.

How can I help reduce welfare fraud and abuse?

You can report suspected welfare fraud by calling the fraud hotline at 800-344-8477 or fax the fraud hotline at 951-358-6505.
You can also contact WeTip at WeTip.com or mail your complaint to: Riverside County DPSS
7894 Mission Grove Parkway South, Suite #150,
Riverside, CA 92508
Attention: Inspections Branch

Why should I report fraud?

When fraud continues, it jeopardizes the level of service the government can provide to residents who are truly in need.

What are the penalties for welfare fraud?

Anyone found guilty of committing welfare fraud must make full restitution of the overpaid benefits and can be sentenced to community service, probation, or serve time in prison. The defendant must also pay costs and fines to the court. They will be disqualified for a period of time from public assistance benefits.

Does Riverside County DPSS accept anonymous complaints?

Yes, but you are encouraged to identify yourself so that we can follow up with you to learn more information that will help our investigation.

What happens after I file my complaint?

The Inspections Branch reviews each complaint it receives and considers it for investigation. If the complaint is outside of our jurisdiction, we will refer it to the appropriate agency.

How long does it take to complete an investigation?

The time frame is determined by the nature of the allegations, the number of interviews that need to be completed, and the number of investigations already opened and under investigation by the branch.

Will someone contact me regarding my complaint?

Our investigations staff may contact you for additional information that can help our investigation. However, you will not be contacted at the end of the investigation to inform you of our findings.

What happens at the conclusion of an investigation?

Once we investigate and determine that a person is not eligible for public assistance, there can be two outcomes.
Their aid can be denied, discontinued, or reduced.
An individual may be required to reimburse the county for funds they were not eligible to receive or be prosecuted for welfare fraud and face criminal penalties, including but not limited to, a felony conviction and jail time.

Are Welfare Fraud Investigators with Riverside County law enforcement?

Yes. Our Welfare Fraud Investigators are sworn California peace officers.

Why are tips/complaints from the public vital?

The public can be one of the best resources to ensure that only individuals who are eligible for public assistance receive it. Your input helps us better serve the community and helps preserve limited funds for those who are truly eligible for aid.