Navigating government ethics and integrity can be difficult and intimidating, including when you decide to make a report.
You can report tips anonymously or confidentially. But, what’s the difference between the two?
What does it mean to report anonymously?
When you witness wrongdoing in City government, you can report it to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) anonymously. This means that your identity is unknown to us or anyone else.
If you would like to remain anonymous, just let the investigator know when you report through our fraud hotline at 215-686-1770. Tell them you would rather not give a name. If you report online, just leave the “Complainant Name” section empty.
What does it mean to report confidentially?
Confidential reporting means that when you report wrongdoing to the OIG, your identity and the information you share will solely remain with our office and will not be shared with anyone else.
This also means that your information will not be shared with anyone else who may be involved in the investigation outside of the OIG. Simply let the investigator know you would like to be a confidential source.
Why is confidential reporting more helpful than anonymous reporting?
The Office of the Inspector General reviews all complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to make sure that they are credible before pursuing any leads.
When the OIG knows who the reporter is, it allows investigators to quickly validate sources, ask follow-up questions, and confirm important facts before our work can begin.
When a tip is anonymously reported, the investigators first have to try to find additional sources to make sure that the claim is legitimate, which can take time to do. The extra time and resources needed to make sure the claim is real can delay investigations, and those delays can sometimes damage an investigation’s outcome.
It is important to know the difference between the two, especially because you have a right to have your identity protected when you report government misconduct. Although we encourage all tipsters to be a confidential source so that we can follow up, you have the right to report anonymously if you choose to do so.
If you’ve witnessed wrongdoing or even something suspicious, let us know so we can investigate it. Call the Office of the Inspector General’s fraud hotline at 215-686-1770 or visit us online.