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Keywords:

  • deception;
  • skills;
  • specialisation;
  • economic crime;
  • modus operandi;
  • motivation

Abstract

Deception is often associated with economic gain and white-collar crime. But studying deception highlights the need for criminologists and practitioners to move beyond legal definitions and conviction rates when attempting to achieve depth in understanding criminality, its motivations and possible specialisms. Further, to explore the complexity of deception requires recognition of the range of skills inherent in this modus operandi, which is better recognised as a potentially-criminal tool found in much criminal behaviour. Theories that attempt to explain specialisation need to move on from a focus on crimes committed and give appropriate attention to skills employed.