You see an elegant, handsome man in a tailored suit in a public place – who is he? Your first thought is –a businessman, an achiever with high esteem and social status. Once again you‘ve perceived the world through stereotypes. Who would have thought that this man is in fact a fraud?!

The truth is sometimes bitter and judging somebody by first impression may be deceptive, as such men could in fact be white-collar criminals. Who are they and should you be afraid?

White-collar crime

White-collar crime is a common phenomenon and is the reflection of both social and economic pathologies. This concept was introduced by Edwin H. Sutherland and defined ‘approximately as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation‘. These factors facilitate committing crimes, especially in the financial and economic areas.

Sutherland‘s theory was ground-breaking as previously criminals were associated with unstable people of low social status or even coming from the underclass. He indicated that crime among the wealthy and respected ones not only exists but also results in serious financial losses and constitutes one of the most serious types of crime.

Serious and also hard to combat.

White-collar crime is also a concept that puts more focus on the perpetrator, as it deals with their description and characteristics, not so much on the crime itself. These criminals are specialist in their fields (of law, economics, accountancy), the mechanism of their illegal activities is highly complicated and nonviolent. Seemingly, there are no victims of white-collar crimes.

If there's a crime, there is (not) a victim

A victimless crime is a popular term in criminology but it is not easy to evaluate. Usually the police are notified about a crime by a person directly or indirectly harmed. But there is a group of crimes that theoretically do not violate or threaten the rights of anybody.

One example can be illegal possession of firearms, there are no victims of it as such. It may seem similar with the white-collar crime. Its ‘victims‘ are usually financial or economic institutions, where perpetrators commit malpractice or embezzlement.

In reality, white-collar crime has many negative effects and results in financial losses of not only big companies but also individuals. With the abuse of power or social trust the criminals commit crimes that have high level of influence on other people, so it‘s hard to agree that such activities are harmless and peripheral.

White collars are becoming more active

Economic crime is the domain of the white collars but they‘re not the only ones who use illegal measures. Seemingly connected with legally run companies, grey economy, fictitious invoices and companies of frequently international character – these characterize also activities of people with a lower social status.

It is true, however, that the white collars are a serious problem. Having high esteem or holding high office facilitates committing such crimes and simultaneously make them harder to detect. Also, the range of effects is much wider.

Under the National Crime Agency there is a special Economic Crime Command which purpose is to ‘reduce the impact of economic crime (including the financing of serious and organised crime) on UK society and the UK economy‘. Economic crime poses such growing threat to the wellbeing of the United Kingdom and its people that at the beginning of this year the government launched consultations with business over legislation making companies held responsible for not detecting and preventing such crimes.

Typical economic crimes include:

  • VAT crimes – turnover of goods for which excise duty has not been paid, lowering VAT, avoiding paying the tax, obtaining VAT returns under false pretences,

  • duty crimes – connected with illegal manufacturing, changing categorization of goods to avoid paying the duty, their trafficking and turnover,

  • counterfeiting documents – hiding real debts of a company, filling credit applications for companies that do not meet the criteria, using falsified documents,

  • phishing – obtaining sensitive information for making financial operations without the consent of their owner, sending junk mail asking for credentials,

  • skimming – copying data from the magnetic stripe on debit cards,

  • crimes committed with the help of bank employees – disclosing confidential data, generating false contracts for banking services,

  • insurance crimes – staging road accidents or car thefts to obtain damages,

  • laundering of money coming from economic crimes.

Not only white collars are dangerous

Economic crime generates the highest financial losses not only for state budget but also for the private sector. Private entrepreneurs are particularly exposed to danger to security of sensitive data, what can lead to serious financial losses or even problems with running a company.

It‘s evident that the white-collar crime constitutes a serious threat to companies, not only the worldwide ones but also local ones.

Businessmen from average and bigger companies can also encounter economic malpractice in the form of the blue-collar crime. Employees of lower positions may cause problems too. They steal from the clients, sell confidential data to competitors or even make money transfers from company accounts to their own!

Blue collars would like to become white one day so they are not loyal to their company.

Do you own a company? Check, if your office is clean!

Technological development facilitates illegal activities of economic criminals. Cyberespionage and electronic surveillance are often used by the white collars.

But technology can also act in favour of righteous businessmen who need to protect their companies. We offer a service of detecting listening devices in company premises and also provide help in installing acoustic jammer system that prevents from planting a remote bug in an office.

Bugs detectors are the first step of making sure that flow of information in a company is secure. For entrepreneurs who like to have everything under control, we offer high quality and effective bugs detectors. Devices like Protect 1206i and Raksa-120 allow you to easily scan a room and detect not only radio bugs but also minicameras recording everyday work and GPS trackers mounted in a company car, pen drives and other mobile devices.

In order to effectively fight the economic crime, you need to start with prevention. This is a task mainly for the government and various forces. But you can and should have control over what‘s going on around you, so that you count profits not losses.

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