Victim and pursuer

How two crimes propelled a student to action

By Chloe Pickering; Edited by Colin May, CFE
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Starting Out: For new and budding fraud examiners

Other than physical trauma, there's no more crippling feeling than having all your money stolen. A fraud victim's emotional, psychological and physical reactions can be similar to major trauma crimes. (See Victims of Fraud: Comparing Victims of White Collar and Violent Crime, by Linda Ganzini, M.D.; Bentson McFarland, M.D., Ph.D.; and Joseph Bloom, M.D., Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1990.) Yet, for some, it's an impetus to join the anti-fraud cause so that others won't be victimized. In this column, Chloe Pickering, a recent graduate from the U.K., describes her story — first as a victim and then as an aspiring fraud examiner. — Colin May

I knew little about fraud before I became a victim. I only read stories about it in newspapers or watched fraud-themed shows on TV. I assumed it would never touch me, but I was wrong. I was a victim of fraud twice within three years while I was a university student. My misfortunes spurred me to conduct a major research project on fraud in my final year at university.

I've discovered that fraud is extremely widespread and anybody can be a target. I'm now much more aware of the ever-growing risks of these crimes. My experiences could have scarred me, but I've decided to flip the negative into a positive and educate others — especially students — about the methods they can adopt to reduce their likelihood of becoming fraud victims.  

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