Technology and fraud

The ‘fraudogenic’ consequences of the Internet revolution

Authored by: Mark Button , Cassandra Cross

The Routledge Handbook of Technology, Crime and Justice

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138820135
eBook ISBN: 9781315743981
Adobe ISBN:


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Recorded crime in many industrialised countries over the last twenty years has been falling and this has stimulated much debate over whether this is really happening and if so, what explains it (Farrell et al. 2011; Knepper 2015). One common proposition is that enhanced security and crime prevention measures have reduced opportunities for crime and contributed to a decline (Van Dijk 2008; Farrell et al. 2011). However, this is really only one half of the story. This chapter will argue that juxtaposed to declining crime trends and reduced opportunities for ‘traditional crimes’ to occur, there has been a technological revolution, which over the last 20 years, has centred around the Internet and related technologies. This has created a vast pool of new opportunities for crime, particularly centred around fraud. Therefore, the chapter will argue that this technological evolution has created a ‘fraudogenic’ environment, in which the ‘criminal justice complex’, by which we mean criminal justice bodies, politicians and many criminologists have been ‘behind the curve’. There are now in many industrial countries huge levels of fraud victimisation resulting from cyber-enabled and dependent attacks, but which traditional accurate measures of crime, such as crime surveys, have been ill-equipped to capture, resulting in an attenuation of the problem. This is starting to change, but much more attention and resources need to be dedicated to the problem.

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