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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 11:18 GMT
Lie detector tests benefit cheats
Voice-risk analyser software
Changes in voice tone can mean that a person is lying
A telephone lie detector has discovered that a third of people on benefits called by Edinburgh Council may be cheating the system.

From 75 calls, 25 have been flagged as suspect and marked for further investigation over the past two months by the voice risk analysis system.

The equipment detects the varying levels of stress in a person's voice as they talk about their benefit claim.

A caller's tone at the start of the conversation is compared with the end.

There is a minority who are intent on stealing money from those who need it most
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie
Edinburgh Council

The results come as the council prepares to launch a campaign reinforcing the message that benefit cheats "will not be tolerated".

It also wants to highlight how the public has a role in helping to catch those who illegally claim money they are not entitled to.

One Edinburgh resident was recently sentenced to 150 hours community service for claiming more than 11,000 in benefits over five years while she was employed.

Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh Council's finance and resources committee convenor, said: "We are already making good progress on tackling benefit fraud but we want to improve our processing rates even more.

"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."

From next week, a leaflet and poster campaign will be used to remind Edinburgh residents that every household in the UK loses about 36 each year to benefit cheats.

The voice recognition trial, which began on 1 October, finishes at the end of December and will be reviewed in the new year.

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04 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
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