Fraud (or defrauding or scamming) is a crime in which someone tricks somebody else to get unfair or unlawful gain. Frauds are almost always about money, either directly or indirectly.
A fraudster or a fraud is the person who commits the fraud. 'Fraudulence is the adjective, as in He tried to pass a fraudulent cheque. To defraud someone is to commit a fraud against them.
Fraud is a criminal wrong: a fraudster may be prosecuted and imprisoned. It is also a civil wrong: a fraud victim may sue the fraudster to get compensation.
All societies have laws against fraud, but the details differ in each jusisdiction. In England an Act of Parliament defines three kinds of fraud.
- fraud by false representation,
- fraud by failing to disclose information, and
- fraud by abuse of position.
Lesser cases are heard in a Magistrates' Court; more serious offences are tried in the High Court (jury proceedings).
Images for kids
A fake automated teller slot used to commit bank fraud upon bank patrons.
The highly decorated fake uniform worn by a man impersonating a "Marine" caught by two gunnery sergeants at Times Square in New York City, New York
A fraudulent Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price on a speaker
A possibly fraudulent "work from home" advertisement