A document published earlier this year by the Serious Fraud Office’s Counter Fraud Centre identifies seven fraudster personas, their methods, and the countermeasures that organisations can implement to protect themselves.
Through its work in investigations and prosecutions, and with its international counterparts, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has identified common tried and tested methods fraudsters use to commit financial crimes.
“These personas can help you and your organisation to think like a fraudster,” states the Guide. “They can help you more easily understand the different actions fraudsters use to target government programmes and functions.”
According to the Guide, fraudsters tend to use a variety of methods from several different personas. They might deceive a public official, for example, impersonate another individual, fabricate evidence, and then conceal their activity.
The seven personas identified by the Guide include:
1. The Impersonator
The Impersonator pretends they are another person or entity to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve using false or stolen identities, attributes, or credentials for personal gain.
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2. The Corruptor
The Corruptor abuses their position of entrusted power to gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve negative incentives such as threats or intimidation, or positive incentives such as bribes.
3. The Deceiver
The Deceiver makes others believe something that is not true to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve providing false statements, deliberate misrepresentation or withholding facts or circumstances.
4. The Enabler
The Enabler knowingly or complacently enables fraudulent activity to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve an individual who intentionally keeps themselves unaware of the circumstances to avoid responsibility.
5. The Exploiter
The Exploiter uses something for a wrongful purpose to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve misusing their position or privileges or dishonestly exploiting a vulnerability for personal gain.
6. The Fabricator
The Fabricator invents or produces documents that are false to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves or another person. This might involve creating false invoices or other types of records for personal gain.
7. The organised
The Organised are a group or people who use a combination of sophisticated methods, in a planned and coordinated way, to dishonestly gain a benefit for themselves. This may involve using professional facilitators and service providers to help or facilitate their criminal activities. For each persona, the Guide also lists examples of exploiter actions, red flags to look out for, and countermeasures to support oversight and transparency. The Guide is available to view and download from the SFO website.