Low Level Fraud And Deception

"Fraud is the fastest growing crime in Britain, costing us an estimated £50 billion a year."

"Fraud is currently a very nice way for criminals to make lots of money without getting nicked!"

From individual to organised criminal gang, fraudulent activities damage people's lives, sometimes beyond repair. What starts out as an unchallenged ripoff, can take a person on a road of perpetual fraud, ultimately leaving many victims in their wake. Can we do more to discourage this kind of behaviour by introducing trust and moral education in schools and clamping down on those that persist? We certainly need something a lot simpler and more substantial in law for dealing with this sort of thing as any legal processes at the moment are far too convoluted and equally ineffective allowing criminals to get away with it time and time again.

Trust Deficiency: It's nice to be able to trust people but unfortunately some people suffer from trust deficiency. They cannot be trusted and they see trust in others as a weakness and an opportunity to take advantage. Until they manage to work out that this is not the appropriate way to be, if they ever do, the only mechanism of deterrent is the law. However, the law is currently very weak in this area and at present many good people in our society consistently lose considerable sums of money due to untrustworthy people behaving badly. The more trustworthy you are yourself, the worse it can be, as we tend to judge others by our own standards. In other words, if it's something you wouldn't dream of doing to someone yourself, it's hard to imagine that somebody could do it to you. Of course, by the time the lessons are learnt, it is usually at cost, both financial and emotional. I for one would prefer to live in a world where people can be trusted. After all, it's not that difficult to consider and care about others, but some people can only find it within themselves to care about themselves. They don't care who they tread on and they don't care who they take from! In the meantime, ordinary decent people in this world have only the law to maintain moral standards and defend them.

Licensed To Thieve! Fraud is a form of theft but whereas theft is illegal, fraud is not given the same significance, even though it is basically the same crime just achieved differently. With low level fraud especially, there appears to be no real mechanism for even dealing with it. The law, as it currently stands, is either not interested, or simply shifts the onus of responsibility into the civil courts. Victims of fraud are not really considered victims and even when there is absolute proof the law it seems cannot or will not act. This lack of will or ability to deal with this kind of offence sends out completely the wrong message to the perpetrators and gives them no real cause to modify their behaviour. At present they can repeatedly commit such offences, leaving a trail of victims and walk away scot free every time. It is almost as though the law is giving them an absolute license to behave in this manner. Some people see an absence of consequence as being a green light to commit the offence and as long as they do not raise the stakes too high, they can quite safely get away with amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand pounds over and over again.

No Real Deterrent! If there is no real deterrent or mechanism in law to deal with these kinds of issue, there is nothing to discourage some people from undertaking a career course in such low level fraud and deception. Consequently the number of victims left in their wake continues to rise, rather than diminish. The only mechanism that currently exists for the victims of such offences is often one of taking out a civil action against the perpetrator. However, that involves the victim paying additional costs on top of what he or she may already have lost and there is no absolutely guarantee that they will get anything back, as there is no real obligation for the criminal to pay. The criminal may therefore still default on any order to pay back what they have effectively stolen. Such an action also does nothing to address or punish the original criminal act, or deter such activity in the future.

Law Doesn't Put Them Off! Unfortunately some people in our society see people being prepared to trust them as an opportunity to take advantage, regardless of any harm they may cause and this is how they fund their existence and lifestyle. They are unfortunately weak and selfish and lack any moral consideration for others and of course rely solely on good people giving them trust, which they can then exploit. Fortunately, not everybody in life is like this and some of us set out to try and be straight and put things straight. Yes, that is nicer way to be. In the meantime, the law is supposed to put people off of behaving badly, and yet the law itself is weak and ineffective in such places. If we are ever to properly clean up our society, this must change!

Nip It In The Bud! In my experience, whether talking about companies or individuals, as far as the police are concerned, low level fraud is very small potatoes. They probably consider that they have much more important things to worry about, especially with resources being so stretched. However, if these problems are not addressed at low level, they can multiply. There is lot to be said for the old saying, 'nip it in the bud', so as to try and prevent behaviour becoming habitual and endemic. If it does become habitual and you multiply all the offences together, one can see it is no longer small potatoes, but something quite substantial, potentially leaving many victims in its wake. Personally, I feel that addressing fraud is a much more important than persecuting people for their adult lifestyle choices, which we currently allocate considerable resources to do. Of course, we upset many people in the process when we do this because this kind of behaviour is unjust persecution and we are wrong to do it. Reason? Where there is no victim, just a difference of opinion or lifestyle choice, there can be no crime. Fraud, however, even at the lowest level is a real crime, because it leaves a victim. We should learn to appreciate the difference.

Trust In Education! This is another area where putting a little more emphasis on educating people to do the right thing could pay significant dividends. I don't ever remember having any lessons at school about trust and the importance of trust, or what can go wrong when others don't apply trust to their own behaviour. Moral education is not the realm of religion, it is the realm of common decency and is as important as sex education, drug education, and in fact any other education. When trust breaks down in society, society itself breaks down. Even in positions of government and local authority we fall short in the trust department and examples set from such people, much of the time, are hardly good ones. If those at the top cannot manage it, how can we expect those less privileged to do so. More needs to be done to make sure that we, as human beings, fully understand the importance of trust and being trustworthy and what goes wrong if we don't!

Further article...
The Artful Lodgers