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Investigations/Report Fraud

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 filling out this electronic form, calling the fraud hotline at (800) 344-8477 or emailing [email protected]

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 is dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of those who commit welfare fraud against public assistance programs such as cash aid, food stamps, childcare, and general assistance.  Fraud allegations can be submitted by filling out this electronic form, calling the fraud hotline at (800) 344-8477, emailing [email protected] or fax your complaint to the fraud hotline fax at 951-358-6505.

    Riverside County Welfare Fraud Investigators are sworn Peace Officers under State of California Penal Code Section 830.35 and are stationed at District Offices throughout the county.  Welfare Fraud Investigators conduct fraud investigations, internal investigations, and assist social workers with locating runaway children under the jurisdiction of DPSS.  Sworn investigators are also tasked with responding to and providing additional security and/or medical assistance to employees and members of the public at DPSS buildings and offices.

    The Special Investigations Unit is a POST certified agency and prior to exercising peace officer powers, Investigators must attend and successfully pass a rigorous basic police academy.  Additionally, Welfare Fraud Investigators must complete ongoing continuing education training in the areas of first aid, arrest and control, tactical firearms, communications, and cultural diversity.

    Fraud Early Detection Unit

    The Fraud Early Detection Unit is made up of Riverside County Investigative Technicians who conduct preventative fraud interviews with customers, review customer applications, and verify facts provided by customers at application to prevent fraud.  The Fraud Early Detection Unit also provides a preventative fraud message to the public to assist the customers with understanding their mandatory reporting responsibilities and how to avoid committing welfare fraud.

    Criminal Records Review and Match Unit

    The Criminal Records Review Unit focuses on conducting background checks for the Children’s Services Division. The Match Unit verifies information received from the Social Security Administration, Employment Development Department and Department of Justice state and federal match systems to reduce the potential of fraud.

    How can I join the Riverside County DPSS Inspections Branch?

    For more information on how to apply for a DPSS position or any Riverside County position, applicants must apply at County of Riverside Human Resources website.   []

    Frequently Asked Questions

      What is Welfare Fraud?

      Welfare fraud occurs when an individual provides false or incomplete information in order to receive public assistance benefits to which they were not entitled.

      Some examples of welfare fraud are:

      • Not reporting an absent parent in the home
      • Not reporting all household income
      • Collecting aid for child(ren) not in the home
      • Not reporting all persons residing in the home
      • Collecting public assistance in more than one state or county

      Most instances of California welfare fraud are prohibited under Welfare and Institutions Code 10980 WIC.

      How can I help reduce welfare fraud and abuse?

      You can report suspected welfare fraud by emailing [email protected], calling the fraud hotline at 800-344-8477 or faxing the fraud hotline at 951-358-6505.

      You can also 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 is allowed to continue, it jeopardizes the level of service government can provide its residents and reduces the amount of service that can be provided to the truly needy in our communities.

      What are the penalties for welfare fraud?

      If found guilty of committing welfare fraud, a defendant must make full restitution of the overpaid benefits, can receive a sentence that can includes community service, probation or incarceration, pay costs and fines to the court, and be disqualified for a period from public assistance benefits.

      Does Riverside County DPSS accept anonymous complaints?

      Yes. However, you are encouraged to identify yourself so that we may follow up with you, if necessary, to obtain additional information that would aid in our investigation.

      What happens after I file my complaint?

      Each complaint the Inspections Branch receives is assigned for review and possible investigation. If the complaint is outside of our jurisdiction, a referral will be made to the appropriate agency.

      How long does it take to complete an investigation?

      It is impossible for us to predict the length of an investigation. The time period 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?

      You may be contacted by our Investigations Staff to obtain additional information that would aid in 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?

      There can be several outcomes once an individual’s eligibility for public assistance has been investigated and it has been determined they are not eligible. 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. The individual can also 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 peace officers under section 830.35 of the California Penal Code.

      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 in preserving limited funds for those citizens of Riverside County who are truly eligible for aid.