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.

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 help by reporting suspected fraud using one of the following methods:

  • Go to the Inspections Branch Home Page and Select “Report Fraud” on the upper right hand side.
  • Call the Fraud Hotline at 800-344-8477
  • Or fax your complaint to Fraud Hotline Fax at 951-358-6505
  • Or mail your complaint to:
    Riverside County DPSS
    7894 Mission Grove Parkway South, Suite #150,
    Riverside, CA 92508
    Attention: Inspections Branch
  • Contact We Tip at We Tip

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 of time from public assistance benefits.

Does the County of Riverside Department of Social Services 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.