Fraud

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Etymology

Middle English fraude, from Anglo-French, from Latin fraud-, fraus

Definitions

b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick
  • 2 a : a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor; also : one who defrauds : cheat
b : one that is not what it seems or is represented to be

Description

In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent.

The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain.

A hoax also involves deception, but without the intention of gain, or of damaging or depriving the victim; the intention is often humorous.

See also