Unfortunately, child support fraud is a fairly common occurrence in the United States. There are many ways to commit the act of child support fraud, and some are easier to track than others. For example, someone could take on only jobs that pay in cash and then not report their income. Alternatively, they could simply avoid getting a job on purpose. It’s even possible for a person to accidentally not pay their child support, if their employer is supposed to automatically withhold it and the system fails to do so. However, regardless of the methods or intentions involved, if you suspect someone of child support fraud, it’s important to report the situation to the authorities in your area as quickly as possible.
Make Sure That You Have Proof
Since issues of fraud relating to child support are taken very seriously by the authorities, you need to make sure that you have proof before you accuse someone. Otherwise, you could be doing a lot of harm to an innocent person and wasting a lot of people’s time. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get true proof, since the person isn’t likely to admit to fraud. However, you could get pictures or receipts for expensive items that they have purchased. If they are reporting a low income so they can avoid high child support payments, but they are actually making and spending large amounts of money, that could be proof of fraud.
Report The Fraud
Once you have proof, you can report the fraud to the child support enforcement agency in your state. Each state has a different agency, which may go by a different name. Some possible organization names are:
- Office of Child Support Enforcement
- Office of Child Support Services
- Office of Child Welfare Services
If you aren’t sure what the proper agency in your state is, you can refer to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/state-and-tribal-child-support-agency-contacts-map. Simply click on the image of your state on that map to locate your tribal or state child support agency and report the potential fraud to them.
Of course, reporting child support fraud may not be as easy if you think that the fraud is occurring in another state. In cases that cross state lines, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General may need to be involved. You can contact that office directly, or you can contact your local child support agency and they will let you know whether or not other agencies, such as that need to be involved.
Take Legal Action
No matter what your relationship is to the child or parent, you should report child support fraud if you know it is happening. However, if you are the custodial parent, you may need to take one final step. Legal action might be required in order to get the non-custodial parent to make their child support payments, or get the amount of the payments changed to reflect the non-custodial parent’s real earnings. If you need to take that step, you will have to petition the family court and have a judge review the case.