There are a lot of colours around when we talk about crime and cyber security. White and black when we are in the cyber territory. White and blue when we talk about crime.  

Today we talk about the broader one. The one related to crime.  

If you are interested in the difference – this episode gives you the insights and background. 


Differentiating the terms white-collar and blue-collar crime is important when we analyse the fraud patterns.  The fraud patterns are sub-summarized in the fraud tree.  

In short, the fraud tree contains different key patterns like: 

  1. Asset misappropriation 
  2. Financial statement fraud 
  3. Corruption and bribery 

These are only the key areas which will then have their sub areas with the different patterns. 

And as you might have noticed over the last months – the patterns are evolving. Faster than the protection and prevention measurements on the fraud management side.

Not all the fraud patterns in the fraud tree are just white or blue. There might be combinations. 

And what the criteria are will be crystal clear by understanding the difference of the two terms. 


When it comes to the classification of fraud, I use the opportunity as one of the key driver – if not THE key driver. If I understand who has access to what my hypothesis work becomes very effective.  

The former definition of blue- and white-collar crime often references back to the social classes.  

I am convinced that it less depends on the social class and status than on the opportunity.  

Of course, white-collar crime is definitively more often conducted by the higher organisational level someone reaches – but the blue-collar crimes are conducted by those too.  

The more white-collar workers feel the pressure the more also blue-collar crime drivers increase: 


And if you are interested in learning more about the fraud triangle, in episode 6 I explain why the fraud triangle is a very important source when it comes to preventing and investigating fraudulent behaviour. 


Thank you for joining me on this episode of THE HUMAN FACTOR – Corporate Integrity Matters.

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