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What Lies Behind the Growth in Fraud?

NCJ Number
Marilyn Chilvers
Date Published
July 2002
8 pages
This document discusses the growing incidence of fraud in New South Wales (Australia).
The annual number of incidents recorded rose by 16.3 percent between 2000 and 2001. In order to determine the source of this growth, the premise type that is associated with each fraud incident was examined. More than half of all reported fraud incidents occurs in retail/wholesale premises. Less than one in seven reported frauds occur in financial institutions. Three-quarters of the increase in frauds reported in New South Wales occurred in retail/wholesale premises. Fraud in service stations accounted for almost half of all retail/wholesale fraud recorded in 2001. Fraud in service stations accounted for more than half of the total increase in recorded fraud in New South Wales between 2000 and 2001. Most frauds in service stations are incidents of deception, whereby petrol and other goods are obtained by persons that either fail to pay, or that deceive the service station attendant regarding their capacity to pay. An upward trend in fraud crime was detected in 12 of the total 14 Sydney geographical regions. No country region showed an upward trend in fraud in 2000-2001. Most Sydney regions that recorded an upward trend in total fraud crime also recorded an upward trend in service station fraud. More than half of the total statewide increase in service station fraud incidents came from an increase in four Sydney regions. Trials of schemes in metropolitan service stations to reduce fraud include forming a consulting group of all local service station proprietors and police to formulate strategies to address the problem; the introduction of a voluntary system requiring pre-payment for petrol; formal sponsorship of the fuel pre-payment program by police; and a faxable form for reporting incidents to police. The uptake of a general metropolitan fuel pre-payment scheme by service station owner-operators and by the major oil companies has been slow. The main concerns are the potential reduction in associated shop sales, the loss of market share where the scheme is not implemented, and the cost and difficulty of implementing new technology to support pre-payment. 4 figures, 2 tables, 12 notes, appendix