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Software to trap lying employees

Calling in sick for the day could become riskier as firms start to use lie-detecting applications.

Lie-detecting software is set to help firms and even the government catch out skiving employees.

While a human boss may be fooled by a faux-croaky voice and the occasional weak cough, Voice Risk Analysis software from DigiLog and Capita is far harder to convince.

The software analyses the stress in a caller's voice to determine if they are lying about their illness, flagging up any suspicious results to a human operator.

The company has previously conducted trials at the Department for Work and Pensions and at Harrow Council, with the aim of reducing benefit fraud. The trials were considered a success, and 1.5 million in funding has been made available for local authorities to conduct their own tests.

"This positive and encouraging news from the pilots shows this technology is helping to combat benefit fraud. It is also making it quicker and easier to review claims, especially for those people who are genuinely entitled to benefits," said Anti-fraud Minister, James Plaskitt.

"Harrow Council is one of seven local authority pilots nationwide, who have already recognised that this cutting edge technology can be used to stop criminals and is a unique weapon in the fight against benefit fraud."

Insurance fraud is another area where the software has already been trialled.

"Voice Risk Analysis cannot disadvantage a genuine claimant, it will only ever speed up their claim. It will, however, provide an indicator of potentially fraudulent claims and can help direct the search for concrete evidence of fraud. If none is found, the claim will be paid as with any other," said Gordon Hannah, head of claims at online insurer eSure.

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