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Monitor and Investigate Recipient and Retailer Fraud Allegations

Gears with the word Investigate etched on the top one

The Fraud Investigation, Recovery, and Enforcement (FIRE) section monitors, investigates, and refers allegations of recipient and retailer fraud in DHS public assistance programs, including FoodShare, Medicaid, the state supplement to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program.

The FIRE Section is comprised of four units, the Investigation and Technical Assistance Unit (ITAU), the PARIS (Public Assistance Reporting Information System) Unit, the Trafficking Enforcement and Audit Unit, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Vendor and Integrity Unit.  Each unit is comprised of subject matter experts, and acts as a resource for all state partner agencies. See detailed descriptions below.

Types of recipient fraud, waste, and abuse, including collusion with retailers may include:
  • Cashiers redeeming their own or family members’ benefits 
  • Concealing income
  • Failure to report household composition accurately
  • Identity theft
  • Receiving benefits in more than one state at the same time
  • Trafficking of benefits for ineligible items or cash
Strategies we use to detect fraud, waste, and abuse:
  • Compare public information such as Social Security, state wage records, unemployment benefits, and prisoner data with recipient-provided data
  • Conduct monitoring visits, audits, and undercover investigations of retailers
  • Investigate fraud allegations received from our hotline and other sources
  • Monitor the number of replacement cards issued to each recipient
  • Monitor social media sites for advertisement of FoodShare cards or benefits for sale
  • Participate in the Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS)
  • Use data analytics
Specialized investigation units within the FIRE section:

The Investigation and Technical Assistance Unit is responsible for investigating recipient fraud, providing technical assistance to our local agency partners, offering educational material to recipients and the general public, and acting as a special operations team as needed.

The Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS) Unit is responsible for identifying recipients who receive duplicate benefits in two or more states, or no longer qualify for benefits in Wisconsin due to out of state residency. 

The Trafficking Enforcement and Audit Unit is responsible for investigating QUEST card recipient trafficking and misuse, and partnering with local law enforcement agencies to investigate FoodShare fraud.

The WIC Vendor and Integrity Unit is responsible for processing vendor applications, providing vendor information and training, and monitoring and assessing authorized vendor and participant compliance with Wisconsin WIC program policies and procedures. More information is available at the WIC Vendor Home Page.    


Last revised January 30, 2023