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Common examples of white-collar crimes

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Criminal Law

White-collar crimes, a term first coined in 1939, refer to finance-driven, non-violent offenses committed by business and government professionals. Unlike blue-collar crimes, which often involve physical injury or theft, white-collar crimes are all about deceit, concealment or violation of trust. These crimes are usually to obtain or avoid losing money, property or services. People commit white-collar crimes to gain a personal or business advantage. In today’s digital age, the methods and means of committing these crimes have evolved, but the core motives behind them remain the same.

Such crimes can lead to significant financial losses for individuals, companies and governments. They also erode trust in financial and regulatory systems. Reviewing some common examples of white-collar crimes can help you get a clearer picture of this complex issue.


Fraud is a broad category that encompasses various dishonest practices. It involves intentionally deceiving someone for financial gain. Examples include:

  • Credit card fraud, where individuals use someone else’s credit card information for unauthorized purchases
  • Insurance fraud, where people create false claims to receive insurance money

These acts directly harm individuals or companies financially and can lead to larger issues within financial institutions.


Embezzlement occurs when someone in a position of trust or responsibility over someone else’s assets takes them unlawfully for personal use. This could be an employee redirecting company funds into their own account or a financial advisor misusing a client’s funds. The key element here is the betrayal of trust for personal financial gain, which can severely damage relationships and reputations within professional settings.

Insider trading

Insider trading occurs when someone with confidential, non-public information about a company uses this information to make stock market trades. This practice gives the individual an unfair advantage in the market and undermines the principle of fair trading. It not only affects the integrity of financial markets but also the confidence investors have in them.

Identity theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains and uses your personal information without permission to make money illegally. It can involve anything from getting credit cards in your name without asking to getting tax refunds using your social security number. Individuals suffer both financially and emotionally.

White-collar crimes are a big problem for our financial and regulatory systems. Learning about these crimes can help people and companies work to stop them from happening and know how to respond if they do happen.