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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 00:26 GMT 01:26 UK
Phone lie detectors target fraud
Voice-risk analyser software
Changes in voice tone are detected to indicate someone may be lying
Edinburgh has become the first Scottish city to introduce phone lie detectors to catch benefit cheats.

Edinburgh City Council officials have introduced a phone system which detects changes in a caller's voice to indicate when they may be lying.

Suspects will then be asked to provide extra information before they are given any money.

The three-month pilot, funded by the Department of Work and Pensions, could then be rolled out across Scotland.

Stealing money

The technology, currently used in the insurance industry, analyses changes in a caller's voice to give an indication of the level of risk.

These changes are measured against the caller's voice, which is recorded at the beginning of the phone call, ensuring that nervousness or shyness is not a trigger.

Gordon Mackenzie, convenor of Edinburgh City Council's finance and resources committee, said: "The vast majority of people who receive benefits are genuinely entitled to them.

"However, there is a minority who are intent on stealing money from those who need it most.

"This process aims to tackle these fraudulent claims while speeding up claims and improving customer service for the honest majority."

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