A common stereotype of fraudsters is that they are psychopaths. That fraudsters are considered manipulative, callous and remorseless is understandable, considering the consequences of fraud.
But these traits are not necessarily typical. Different people commit different types of fraud in different circumstances.
False stereotypes of who fraudsters are, and why they do what they do, could lead us to go after the wrong people.
Employers need to start by avoiding what psychologists call a fundamental attribution error – focusing on characteristics of individuals while ignoring the effect of environment on their behaviour. This means that to predict who is likely to commit fraud, we need to understand the effect of fraudsters’ environments.