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What is Fraud?

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What is fraud? You might think the answer to this is obvious, but the fact that some people seem to be able to get away with what others might consider fraud shows that it isn’t so straightforward. If we hope to be able to deal with fraud effectively it is important that we have a good definition of what this actually is.

So What Is Fraud?

In the most basic terms fraud refers to a deliberate misinterpretation of the facts in order that another person loses out in some way. So this means that in order for something to be fraud it needs to intentional; if I mistakenly tell you something in order to get you to buy something then this probably wouldn’t be considered fraud – intention is everything here.

Fraud is not so much about lying to customers. If a salesperson flatters you in order to sell a product this won’t be considered fraud even if they do grossly exaggerate your attractive qualities. In fact the salesperson can lie to you about most things and this won’t be considered fraud. It is only when they deliberately mislead you about the product or service they are trying to sell you that it then becomes fraud.

The Difficulties of Proving Fraud

Proving that somebody has committed fraud can actually be quite difficult. One of the things that make it so difficult to prosecute somebody for this type of action is that most fraudsters will be clever and well aware of the law. Another problem with proving fraud is that it is a legal minefield and the laws differ from place to place.

One of the hardest things to prove is that a seller has deliberately set out to commit fraud. The usual defense is ignorance; for example the seller might claim that they didn’t realize that the goods were faulty or unable to function as advertised. In fact it may be the case that the seller wasn’t aware of what was going on. There are many large companies where most of the employees are in the dark about what is going on. When the news comes out about the fraud then these individuals might be just as shocked as everyone else; this is very common with investment fraud.

A major stumbling block to prosecuting somebody for fraud is that there is an expectation that an investigation of the terms of the agreement takes place before the buyer hands over any money. What this means is that if you didn’t look closely at what was being offered then you might be as much to blame as the fraudster – at least this is what they will claim anyway. If I offer to sell you some magic beans and you didn’t look at the contract you were signing then this might make it hard for you to later claim fraud.

Fraud can really cause not only financial hurt but also a lot of stress. Anyone who feels they have been a victim of fraud will be best advised to seek legal assistance.

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Meet the Author

Anthony Carter currently resides in Fife, Scotland with his wife Lisa, and their three wonderful children. As a senior editor for various publications, if he's not reading and writing, you would find him photographing and traveling to some of the most far-flung locations around the world.


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