SALEM - The state Department of Human Services has armed itself with another weapon to fight fraud in public assistance programs.

DHS is making it easier for people to report suspected fraud related to DHS programs, including food stamps, Medicaid, Oregon Trail Card, child care services, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families by calling (888)FRAUD 01, (888)372-8301.

Clyde Saiki, the department's chief administrative officer, said DHS is stepping up its efforts to recover taxpayer dollars lost through fraud and waste.

"The public's expectations for efficiency and accountability in government have never been higher," said Saiki. "We believe this will be a very effective tool to discourage fraud. We can't afford fraudulent claims for public assistance."

He said the goal of this new reporting system is to maximize efforts toward preventing, detecting, eliminating and prosecuting fraud in the state's human services programs.

DHS has a number of programs in place to handle fraud and financial abuse, including the Fraud Investigation Unit, which fields 16 investigators across the state in addition to a central office staff in north Salem. The unit, which receives an average of 30 fraud-related calls a day, recently produced a savings exceeding $3.4 million in a 12-month period.

For more information about reporting fraud in Oregon, go to (http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/aboutdhs/fraud)

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