The United Kingdom is considering enlisting credit-checking companies such as Experian PLC and Equifax Inc. to root out welfare cheats, who are responsible for a significant portion of the $8.3 billion lost each year to fraud and error.

Prime Minister David Cameron described the losses as "absolutely outrageous" in a Tuesday article in the Manchester Evening News.

"At a time when we're having to take such difficult decisions about how to cut back without damaging the things that matter the most, we should strain every sinew to cut error, waste and fraud," Cameron said in his article.

He proposed "using more information from third parties such as credit referencing agencies to identify circumstances which are incompatible with the benefit claim."

Experian of Dublin and Equifax of Atlanta offer credit-reference services in the U.K., aggregating data from finance companies on individuals' debts and repayment histories.

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