What is Fraud

What is fraud?

Fraud is defined as a criminal deception committed by a person who acts in a false and deceitful way. There are a string of offences under a variety of legislation and essentially the suspect will demonstrate some form of dishonesty and/or deception.

New legislation

The Fraud Act 2006 became law in January 2007. It replaces the existing complicated array of over-specific and overlapping deception offences under Theft Acts 1968, 1978, and 1996. These offences have proved inadequate to tackle the wide range of possible fraudulent activity today or keep pace with rapidly developing technology.  In their place the Act establishes a new general offence of fraud, which can be committed in three ways – by false representation, by failing to disclose information and by abuse of position.

It also establishes a number of specific offences to assist in the fight against fraud – these include an offence of possessing articles for use in fraud and an offence of making or supplying articles for use in fraud.

Does a fraudulent action need to take place?

Not necessarily. In certain circumstances an agreement between two or more people to carry out a fraud can constitute a complete criminal offence. It is not even necessary for any action to take place beyond that agreement.

At what point in a fraudulent act is it considered ‘complete’?

If a fraudster causes funds to be moved out of the control of the victim, the fraud is complete, though the funds may have never been in the possession of the fraudster, and the victim secures their recovery immediately.

Should I report an attempt to commit fraud, even if it was unsuccessful?

The question is whether or not a fraud has been committed does not, therefore, depend upon whether a loss of funds has been incurred. An unsuccessful fraud may still constitute a complete offence, and police can take action. Whoever believes that reporting attempts is a waste of time must remember that the fraudster will learn by experience and will be successful next time.