BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Impact of Fraud on citizens- Nigeria as a case study



Fraud, according to the English dictionary, is a form of unjust, deceptive and criminal activity aimed at the perpetrator’s financial or personal gain. A fraudulent person or act is one intended to deceive others, usually by unjustifiable claims or false credits with accomplishments or qualities. The effects and consequences of fraud are far reaching and wide spread in our society, impacting homes, policies and welfare of citizens.

Informally, fraud is often referred to as scam and is of the most common and expensive crimes endured by millions of people across the world. These scammers are so difficult to avoid; they target everyone including businesses, and are present everywhere especially on the internet, and certainly the streets. Fraudsters employ a broad range of techniques while committing these crimes and some common types of fraud include: Mail Fraud, Internet Fraud, Immigration Fraud, Ponzi Scheme Fraud, License Fraud, Debit and Credit Card Fraud, Bank Account Takeover Fraud, Stolen Tax Refund Fraud, Voter Fraud and Identity Theft. Generally, Fraud has negative effects on everyone affected; most people have either been victims of fraud or know someone who has been defrauded. The following constitute some effects of fraud on individuals, and consequently, the society at large:

  • Economic downturn due to injuries to individuals or damage to properties
  • Loss in public services such as transportation, police and fire departments
  • Financial loss endured by corporations due to loss suffered by their clients
  • Physical injury or death to victims caught in the middle of a scam gone wrong
  • Emotional and psychological burdens on the fraud victims
  • Financial loss to individuals and consequent health problems
  • Distrust, prejudice and lack of confidence in the system

Fraud is a universal crime which occurs worldwide- in every nation; however, it is more common in countries without adequate anti-fraud strategies or laws to prosecute offenders. In Nigeria for example- a country where 95% of the news from all sources stem from various forms of crime, particularly violence and fraud, the above mentioned impacts of fraud abound. The emotional and psychological effects of fraud on victims are perhaps the most disturbing. Depending on the kind of fraud, these victims may become susceptible to many stress-related complications and trauma, finding it difficult to recover from their financial loss. Other feelings associated with fraud victims are loneliness, embarrassment, suicidal thoughts, incompetence, guilt, lack of confidence and loss of their sense of security and dignity- these may take years to regain.

Fraud has remained persistent in our society- growing and evolving, affecting individuals, businesses and countries alike. As anti-fraud technologies evolve and information security tightens, the cleverness of fraudsters becomes more advanced. Fraudsters are continually striving to be one step ahead of the next fraud-prevention strategy. Furthermore, as more activities move from face-to-face interaction to online and mobile transactions- which increase the likelihood of fraud, it becomes necessary to develop more elaborate and accurate fraud prevention strategies. It is also very essential to remain aware of the probabilities, types and transformations in these crimes so as not to fall victim. Noteworthy, keeping one’s confidential information safe and protecting oneself against fraud is a means of preserving well-being, given the aforementioned impacts.

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