For many people, white-collar crime is something that happens silently in city-center offices without much effect on the real world. So what if an employee screws a client out of money? The insurer will pay, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t how things pan out in the real world. Whenever somebody defrauds another person of money, they are claiming value that isn’t theirs, and everyone suffers. Take insurance frauds, for instance. When an employee wrongly makes a claim without having suffered a loss, everyone else has to pay for it through higher premiums. Plus, the people who founded the insurance company receive less income as a result of their efforts, denying them of the value they created.
White-collar crime, however, isn’t just a problem for third-parties: it’s also a massive issue for companies themselves. When a business harbors white-collar crime, it runs the risk of reputational damage. If customers find out that people in a firm are stealing, it damages the whole organization’s public image, wiping millions of dollars from its valuation.
White-collar crime is nothing new. While the term first emerged in the 20th century, it goes back much further than that. Throughout history, unscrupulous people have conducted schemes that they hoped would help them get rich quick, all the while screwing other people over.
Fortunately, as the following infographic shows, people are fighting back. There are now numerous strategies designed to prevent white-collar crime from happening in the first place and punish those who do it, from stricter prison sentences to random inspection of company dealings.
Infographic by University of Southern California