The Psychology of Fraud: What Motivates Fraudsters to Commit Crime?
26 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2015
Date Written: March 31, 2015
For decades, fraud examiners and forensic accountants have been perplexed by the question: “Why do people commit fraud?” Over the years, researchers have conducted many studies with the objective of developing a deeper understanding of fraudulent behavior. This paper provides an overview of both historic and emerging research regarding the psychology of fraud and the factors that motivate fraudsters to commit crime. From the classic fraud triangle theory that was born from Donald R. Cressey’s research to more recent developments regarding fraudulent behavior, this paper provides a comprehensive examination of the theories surrounding fraud motivation. Then, recommendations for ways to deter fraud and a thorough list of fraud warning signs are presented based on the findings.
Keywords: psychology of fraud, fraud motivation, fraud triangle, fraudster, fraudulent behavior; white-collar crime, financial pressure, opportunity, rationalization, fraud deterrence, warning signs, red flags
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