Taking a cue from police investigators and reality TV shows looking to create a scandal, Harrow Council in northwest London has started to use voice risk analysis — a type of phone-based lie detector — to try and catch fraudsters claiming unneeded benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions.
How does it work? "The technology detects changes in people's voice patterns such as hesitation or avoiding direct questions, and identifies them as a "high risk" and in need of further investigation," according to This Is Local London.
Since using this scammer-spotting technology, the Council says 281 claimants (about 25 percent of the pool) have admitted to not needing their benefits anymore — double the rate from before using the technology — which has saved tax payers £336,711.
Also, 53 claimants refused to use the technology, so at least you can decline right now. And though the voice analyzer may be helping root out benefits cheats by pushing for further questioning or playing on their guilty conscience, it brings up the question of how else could voice-based lie detectors be used in the future, and will they be more harmful than helpful? What do you think?
Image courtesy of ora_mia's Flickrstream