ANONYMOUS tip-offs about welfare cheats have increased by 748% since the start of the recession, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Tribune.
There were 1,735 reports received in the first four months of 2009 compared to 232 for the same period last year. Only 180 reports were received in 2007.
Tip-offs relating to those working and claiming welfare at the same time received the most significant increase, rising from 95 and 90 in 2007 and 2008 respectively, to 721 this year.
There were also dramatic increases in reports of cohabiting couples cheating the system and those claiming benefits from outside the country.