Australian Institute of Criminology

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Red flags of fraud

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 200

Peter Grabosky and Grace Duffield

ISBN 0 642 24225 9 ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, March 2001


Building on an earlier Trends and Issues paper, "The Psychology of Fraud" (No. 199), this paper identifies warning signals for fraud, and proposes some preventive or pre- emptive action. Four fraud types are examined: entrepreneurial fraud; client or employee fraud; direct interpersonal fraud (face-to-face); and indirect mass fraud. Examples of each of these are evident in our daily lives and there are often warning signals. Not all of these "warning signals" are necessarily precursors to fraud, but it should be noted that the most productive investment in fraud control is likely to involve strategies which reduce opportunity and enhance guardianship. The setting or context in which fraud may occur can be more or less conducive to offending. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of the situational elements of fraud risk, to permit the design of effective fraud control systems.