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Deceptive Evidence: Challenges in Measuring Fraud (From Surveying Crime in the 21st Century, P 263-279, 2007, Mike Hough and Mike Maxfield, eds., -- See NCJ-220695)

NCJ Number
Jacqueline Hoare
Date Published
17 pages
This chapter examines the measurements of fraud in the United Kingdom.
The measurement of the scale and costs of fraud is a complex and underinvestigated area. Although identity theft is sometimes referred to as Britain’s fastest growing crime by the media, figures collated from the British Crime Survey (BCS) do not provide enough strong evidence to support this claim. In 2005-2006 a module was added to the BCS asking questions specifically about identity theft and fraud; this is an addition to anything reported in the victim form where questions were asked of those who said they had possible evidence to classify identity theft or fraud from the offense codes; analysis was based on the specific questions asked in the identity theft module. Not all types of identity theft were covered. An inherent problem in measuring ID theft is that likely the measure will undercount. The difficulties with the measurement of fraud through both survey and administrative methods, combined with the complexity of the concept of fraud, could advocate using complementary series to provide a fuller picture of fraud. The report concludes that it is not possible to evaluate fully the scale of the problem caused by fraud. There are estimates of some types of fraud as measured by specific organizations. Most measures of fraud have not been carried out according to a robust methodology. The Fraud Bill was introduced to enable prosecution of fraud in the context of other criminal activity. The definition and framework will provide opportunity for effective measurement of fraud; the bill should make reporting and recording fraud easier. When the new legislation and associated counting rules are in place more emphasis should be placed on the police-recorded measure of fraud. References


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