Distinguishing Fraud from Theft

Fraud and theft are both considered criminal acts and wrongful behaviors. However, there are significant differences between the two in terms of how they are carried out and their intentions.

Key Takeaways

  • Fraud is usually hidden during and after the act, while theft is likely to be discovered soon after it occurs.
  • Fraud involves the intention to conceal the act, whereas theft does not have the intention to be hidden.
  • Objects or valuables are stolen in theft, while fraud typically does not involve the taking of physical items.

A primary difference between fraud and theft is that fraud is concealed at the time of the act and is often hidden even after the act has been committed. A fraudster generally wants the victim to remain unaware of the deception for as long as possible. In contrast, theft is typically discovered at or soon after the time of the act.

Another important distinction between fraud and theft is in the nature of the two wrongs. Fraud involves an intention to hide the act, while there is no such intention in theft. A thief knows that the theft cannot be hidden, but a fraudster believes that the fraud can be concealed with some effort.

For example, money stolen from a bank is a clear case of theft, while embezzlement in a bank is a clear case of fraud. There are instances where frauds come to light several years after they have been committed.

It is not only wealthy individuals or business people who can be targets of fraud; many cases of commoners being deceived by fraud are seen in recent times. In the case of theft, objects or valuables are stolen. However, when fraud is committed, no physical objects or valuables are typically taken. In many cases, fraud is committed with the complete approval of the person being deceived, meaning that no theft occurs during the act of fraud. This is an essential difference between the two.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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