Scams, Schemes, and Swindles: A Review of Consumer Financial Fraud Research

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 1.51.16 PMThe Financial Fraud Research Center presents a summary of research on consumer financial fraud. This white paper outlines what we know (and what we have yet to learn) about consumer financial fraud – its prevalence, victims, perpetrators, and methods.


  • Complaints of fraud are increasing, although fraud is still under-reported.
  • An estimated $40 to $50 billion of measurable, direct costs are lost to fraud annually.
  • There is no single profile of a fraud victim, but certain generalizations can be made about victims of specific scam types.
  • Fraudsters are generally white, young or middle-aged men from middle-class backgrounds, often characterized as “middle-class failures.”
  • Fraudsters’ methods of contacting targets and receiving payment mirror the technological transformations of the broader market.

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