Sociolegal change in consumer fraud: From victim-offender interactions to global networks

Kristy Holtfreter, Shanna Van Slyke, Thomas G. Blomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Advances in technology have transformed fraud against consumers from face-to-face, victim-offender interactions to a crime that now transcends international boundaries. Although consumer protection issues have been of interest to investigative journalists and literary scholars for centuries, the topic has only recently been subject to serious criminological inquiry. Employing the American consumer protection movement as an historical framework, we examine the evolution of consumer fraud. Our review documents that progressive social and legal changes in consumer protection and corporate regulation, as well as developments in criminological research, correspond to prominent literary exposés of the time. In today's technological age, such a reactive response to consumer fraud is neither efficient nor effective. Contemporary criminologists need to simultaneously address the questions of 'how' fraud is perpetrated and 'why' it occurs. Toward this end, we identify methodological strategies and data sources to promote empirical and theoretical understanding of consumer fraud, and to ultimately contribute to multi-national crime control policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-275
Number of pages25
JournalCrime, Law and Social Change
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer fraud
  • Global networks
  • Technology
  • White-collar crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law


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