Birmingham and Sandwell councils have launched a crackdown on what they believe are ‘thousands’ of people fraudulently claiming tax discounts.
Under the current rules, if there is only one person living in a household, they are entitled to a 25 per cent discount in their council tax.
There are also discounts available for households containing students.
But Birmingham and Sandwell said they believe thousands of people are cheating the system.
One probe in Birmingham recently resulted in uncovering over £50,000 of incorrectly-claimed student discounts.
Sandwell Council currently has more than 45,000 households claiming to be single person, and last year gave more than £11 million in discounts.
Now it is working with private company, Northgate Public Services, to compare its council tax information with other databases to identify where more than one adult is living at an address but a discount is still being claimed.
Coun Steve Eling, Cabinet member responsible for revenues and benefits, said: “We believe most discounts are claimed honestly and legitimately, but we know there are times where a household’s circumstances change and people forget to tell us their eligibility to a discount should be ended.”
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said it took a “wide approach” to detecting council tax fraud, which included carrying out regular exercises.