Fraud is not new. The taking of property from others has been around as long as man has been on this earth. Fraud is characterized as the taking of goods or services from another by use of trick or device.
In some cases, the concept of fraud is very clear, such as cases in which a fraudster is clearly trying to pass off stolen credit cards or trying to steal goods going to another individual. But not all fraudsters are hardened criminals. In some cases, one who may look like a good consumer is actually nothing more than a fraudster. For example, a consumer may believe he or she is smarter than a merchant and order a product with the intent of using it and returning it. Or a consumer may order goods, receive them, and say he or she didn’t receive them. Some consumers, who are normally good consumers, don’t believe these types of activities are actually fraud. But to the merchant, the end result is no different than if a hardened criminal had used a stolen credit card.
What motivates a fraudster to commit fraud? Money? The thrill or danger involved? Or is it the test of skill? It really doesn’t matter, as the intent is what I am concerned with - the intent of taking goods or services by use of trick or device.
A broad set of consumers and merchants correlate the rise in credit card fraud online with identity theft. In reality, identity theft is one of the oldest schemes in the book. The fact is we are all just hearing more about it in the news today. It may seem that identity theft is a new phenomenon of the Internet age, but in reality, one of the best ways to disappear throughout the ages was to adopt a new identity. What better way to adopt a new identity than to steal it from another? No doubt, fraudsters can acquire a copy of a birth certificate and from that they can get a social security number and other documents to steal a consumer’s identity. Identity theft is only a part of the problem - a single mechanism to commit fraud. Identity theft simply offers fraudsters another way to commit crimes and to hide them from detection.