Fraud Down Under

An Interview with Australian Criminologist Russell G. Smith, Ph.D.

By Dick Carozza

Like any good fraud examiner, Russell Smith, Ph.D., looks at fraud from every angle. He wears the interchangeable hats of a lawyer, criminologist, researcher, educator, and historian. “I was brought up in a family that valued education and a love of reading, and this helped to shape my inquisitive nature and desire to explore people and the world,” Smith said in a recent interview with Fraud Magazine.

As principal criminologist and manager of the Global, Economic and Electronic Crime Program at the Australian Institute of Criminology, Smith is able to use his inquisitive nature to find some answers to fraud’s thornier questions – not just for Australia – but for other regions around the globe.

“Each of my professional work experiences has entailed an element of investigation and research,” he said. “Lawyers are required to investigate the background circumstances of matters their clients bring before them; social scientists investigate the ways in which people behave by using disciplined research methods; criminologists investigate patterns of crime and how society responds to them; and historians investigate the factors that were present at given moments in history to understand what took place and how previous events can be interpreted.”

Based on his research and discernment, Smith conjectures that fraud will increase globally in such areas as gambling, social networking sites and three-dimensional virtual communities, “cloud computing” and the use of external storage of data and applications, ATM skimming for those countries still using cards with informational stripes, and the online delivery of governmental services. (Read “Pulling the Plug on ATM Skimmers.”)

He believes that fraud best flourishes globally when anti-fraud practitioners in all sectors don’t share their knowledge and experience among themselves and with their communities. Smith will share some of his own knowledge and experience as a keynoter at the ACFE’s Pacific Rim Conference, Nov. 14 – 16 in Melbourne.


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