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National Public Survey on White Collar Crime

NCJ Number
Rodney Huff; Christian Desilets; John Kane
Date Published
December 2010
57 pages

This 2010 National Public Survey on White Collar Crime, designed by the National White Collar Crime Center, presents data on the public's experience with white collar crime in 2010 in the areas of victimization, reporting behaviors, and perceptions of crime seriousness.


The white collar crimes addressed in the survey were mortgage fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, unnecessary home or auto repairs, price misrepresentation, and Internet scams. The survey found that 24 percent of households and 17 percent of individuals reported experiencing at least one form of these victimizations during the previous year. The victimizations most often experienced were credit card fraud, price misrepresentation, and unnecessary object repairs. Of the household victimizations 54.7 percent were reported to an organization, agency, or person with the expectation of help in dealing with the victimization. Only 11.7 percent of the victimizations were reported to law enforcement or some other crime control agency. In measuring respondents' perceptions of the seriousness of white collar crime, they were presented with 12 scenarios that included various white collar crimes as well as traditional offenses. The scenarios were grouped into eight categories that were, in turn, ordered into four dichotomies: white collar/traditional crime, crimes involving physical harm/money, crimes involving organizational/individual offenders, and crime involving high-status/low-status offenders. The findings suggest that respondents viewed white collar crime as slightly more serious than traditional crime types. Offenses committed at the organizational level were viewed more harshly than those committed by individuals; and crimes committed by high-status offenders (those in a position of trust) were perceived as more troubling than those committed by low-status persons. A majority believed white collar crime has contributed to the current economic crisis. Nearly half the participants wanted government to devote more resources to countering white collar crimes. 5 tables, 6 figures, and appended survey methodology, survey instrument, and a discussion of the relationship between "crisis" and "resources" variables