In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.Fraud itself can be a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation), a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong.High value frauds can also include additional penalties. government's 2006 fraud review concluded that fraud is a significantly under-reported crime, and while various agencies and organizations were attempting to tackle the issue, greater co-operation was needed to achieve a real impact in the public sector.For example, in California losses of 0,000 or more will result in an extra two, three, or five years in prison in addition to the regular penalty for the fraud. The scale of the problem pointed to the need for a small but high-powered body to bring together the numerous counter-fraud initiatives that existed.In July 2016 it was reported that fraudulent activity levels in the UK increased in the 10 years to 2016 from £52 billion to £193bn.
Michael Levi, professor of criminology at Cardiff University, remarked in August 2016 that it was ‘deeply regrettable’ fraud is being left out of the first index despite being the most common crime reported to police in the UK.
In common law jurisdictions, as a civil wrong, fraud is a tort.
While the precise definitions and requirements of proof vary among jurisdictions, the requisite elements of fraud as a tort generally are the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of an important fact upon which the victim is meant to rely, and in fact does rely, to the harm of the victim.
Professor Levi said ‘If you’ve got some categories that are excluded, they are automatically left out of the police’s priorities.’.
The Chief of the National Audit Office (NAO), Sir Anyas Morse has also said “For too long, as a low-value but high-volume crime, online fraud has been overlooked by government, law enforcement and industry.
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Many jurisdictions permit a plaintiff in a fraud case to seek punitive or exemplary damages.