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Expert interview: What do we mean by fraud?

In this video, Mike Betts, Tina O’Donnell and Rasha Kassem discuss the meaning of the term fraud.
I would like to start by welcoming Mike and Tina to Coventry University and I would like to start by asking Mike, what do we really mean by fraud? Well I think fraud is an interesting word and it is many different types of things to many different people, so I think it is one of the problems with fraud, that if linked to the past, that the reality is, it is one of the more frequent types of crime that we see today and actually the impact is tremendous on individuals and society. So, fraud has changed its face. So, it represents many different types of criminality, but they are all linked together by some common themes.
So, those common themes that we see in most frauds is communication between the fraud criminal and their intended victim and then the release of funds by that victim back to the fraud criminal. So, for me, regardless of the title of the fraud, the typology, the type of fraud, we always would be looking for those common features. So, looking at the fraud criminal themselves, are they an individual? Are they an internal fraudster? Are they part of an organised crime gang? So, to try and understand the nature of the fraud criminal and then look to the victim, try to understand the nature of the victim, particularly about protecting that victim.
So, we are very focused on protection and preventing further harm, so we need to know how that person is susceptible to the activities of the fraudster and what route the fraudster has taken to communicate to that victim. So, for me, fraud is an offence of lying. So, really, I try to think of it as theft through lying and that lying, if represented in our own fraud act, the fraud act of 2006 by the word false representation. So, actually within the legislation, there are only three elements for the main fraud offence, which is a false representation, a lie, which can be done in writing, it can be done verbally, or it can be an action.
So, they are the three types of false representation that may be used to trick the victim from their funds. There is always the attempted financial gain or a financial loss. So, fraud is a financially related offence, so, it is trying to take money from somebody else. And then dishonesty, so dishonesty, false representation, financial gain or loss are really the common features that you see in fraud. Thank you. Tina, would you like to add something? I would like to add that also, we want to try and change people’s perception around fraud.
Fraud does not always have to be a complaint, quite often perception is that fraud needs to be dealt with by a specialist department or individuals or a big organisation or somebody else, but in reality, is fraud affects most people nowadays. Most people are victims of fraud and therefore the volume of fraud is increased.
So, everybody should have responsibility to understand and their awareness of it and for police officers in particular, they would be encountering fraud very regularly in their day to day work and what we want to do is give them the understanding, the skill set and empower them with the knowledge to be able to look at fraud and look at the different elements with the fraud investigation model, as how they can combat fraud. So, ways of preventing, to protect and be able to work with the vulnerability of victims, identify the vulnerabilities. Thank you so much.

In the previous step, you came up with your own definition of fraud.

In this video, Mike Betts and Tina O’Donnell from the City of London Police interviewed by Rasha Kassem from Coventry University, discuss the meaning of the term fraud and some common perceptions of it that need to be challenged.

We will look further at the legal definition of fraud in the next step and the Fraud Investigation Model in Week 2.

How does the discussion in the video compare with the understanding of fraud you provided in the last step?

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Fraud Investigation: Making a Difference

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