• English Vocabulary: The Subtle Difference Between Fraud and Scam

    I like it when my students ask me questions that make me think. Yesterday was one of these occasions when a student asked me, right as class was about to end, the difference between the words fraud and scam.

    Do you know the difference? Let’s look at it now.

    What is a scam?

    Difference between fraud and scamA scam is a fraudulent scheme generally involving money and some sort of business transaction.

    Scams come in various forms. Maybe you have experienced someone telling you would win a prize if you revealed your credit card details or asking you to donate money to a charity that does not exist?

    Scams reach us in various ways, via telephone, email, or even in person.

    A person carrying out a scam is called a scammer.

    What is fraud?

    Fraud implies a deception. It is a breach of confidence or trust.

    Fraud is a serious crime and a violation of civil law.

    The motivations for fraud can be many. These include monetary gain, discrediting an opponent or adversary. It can be to gain prestige as well as a financial advantage.

    If a partner cheats on a husband or wife, he or she can be legitimately called a fraud by the other party if he/she was pretending to be faithful while committing the adultery.

    A person who is guilty of fraudulent activity is called a fraudster.

    Scams and fraud – what’s the difference?

    Fraud is a broader category of wrongdoing than a scam. Scams can belong to the broader category of fraud.

    A scam is generally a more minor offense than fraud, which is considered very serious.

    Examples and Exercises

    Which of the following acts do you consider to be examples of a fraud and examples of a scam?

    1. Using medical services on another person’s medical card.
    2. Billing clients for 20% more than the actual amount of the goods they purchased.
    3. An email telling you that you won $5 million and all you have to do is send on your bank details.
    4. A politician who accepts cash for giving a construction company political favors.
    5. A pop-up on your computer telling you that you have been selected as regional manager for a company, but first you have you send on all your personal details.

    Did you find this blog helpful? Feel free to share it on Facebook and Twitter.

    What to keep studying? Check out our guides to English idiomatic expressions and English phrasal verbs.

    Aulas Inglês

  • No Responses to “English Vocabulary: The Subtle Difference Between Fraud and Scam”

    April 01, 2011 at 9:09 pm, Haru said:

    Muireann,
    Some words can be very confusing, and these two were giving me a hard time. I really appreciate you took the time to write an article about it. It helped me gain a better understanding of these two words.
    Thank you!

    Reply

    November 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm, Erica said:

    Thank you for this. Trying to find info on this was hard. I like how this gets right to point. Again thank you.

    Reply

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