loading
The latest thinking and expert insights into the insurance industry.
15 February 2017
  |  
profile-img

Fraud: it is as old as time

Dr Anton J.L. van Hooff from the University of Nijmegen (NL) tells us about Roman society that was governed by favoritism and nepotism. A society steeped in fraud, bribery and bargaining. This blog is based on his FRAUDtalk of 15 September 2016.

fraud-it-is-as-old-as-time

There are two well-known fables from Antiquity that each represent a different form of cheating. First, there is the fable of the raven that has found a piece of cheese and is proudly sitting with it in a tree. The fox comes along and sees the raven with the cheese in his beak. Asking for a piece doesn’t work, so he takes a smarter approach: he praises the raven for his art of singing and asks for a song. The raven is flattered, starts to ‘sing’ and the cheese falls from his beak. The fox catches it and runs off.

The other fable is about the lion that goes hunting with several other, tamer animals. Together they catch a fine prey, but then the lion suddenly claims his ‘lion’s share’, leaving little for the others.

Fraud in our language

According to Cicero, injustice is done in these two ways: by violence and by deceit. The latter is called ‘fraus’ or ‘fraudis’ in Latin and is most applicable to the story of the fox. Via Latin and French the word ‘fraud’ became part of our language in the Middle Ages. Incidentally, the word ‘frustrated’ is also directly derived from this word: in this case it is about the betrayal of trust.

The Corpus Juris by Justinian, the body of Roman law which forms the basis of much of our current legislation, mentions fraud more than two hundred times, while only speaking of ‘bona fide’ – in good faith – about 120 times. It may be clear what occurred more frequently in daily practice, making fraud as old as time. How should we picture what went on in those days?

Shipping

A lot of trade took place by ship and already in Roman times there were insurances. As it involved large amounts of money, it is hardly surprising that ships frequently sank under very suspicious circumstances.

Expensive goods and hidden defects

Take the tomb of Caprilius who, as we can tell from the decorations, was a rich man. On the left and on the right we see house slaves, depicted as children to ‘belittle’ them, and adult slaves that are chained. Caprilius acquired his riches through the slave trade. A remarkable fact, as he was once a slave himself. The slave trade used several ways to protect its valuable goods. For example, one of the slave’s feet was dipped in chalk, so in the event of an attempt to escape, they would leave a trail. Sometimes they had to wear a medallion bearing the name of the owner.

Once they were at the market, each slave was given a sign summing up his or her qualities so potential buyers could make a good assessment of their value. It was a legal requirement to also mention negative aspects that were relevant, e.g. that someone had attempted suicide. Withholding such ‘hidden defects’ was considered fraud and was a reason to cancel a sale.

Past and future

As the above examples demonstrate, fraud was already widespread in Ancient Rome and it will probably never be eradicated. There will always be an ‘arms race’ between fraudsters and fraud investigators. This means that everyone who decides to make a career in fraud prevention has a golden future ahead of them.

Aulus Caprilius Aulus’ son Former slave, Thimotheos, ‘Body dealer’
Aulus Caprilius Aulus’ son Former slave, Thimotheos, ‘Body dealer’

Contact us

Cookie and Privacy Policy

1. Introduction

When you use this website, FRISS may collect information about your use of the website and the content offered. We believe it is important to handle your (personal) data with due care and confidentiality. When processing your personal data, we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming) and Article 11.7a of the Telecommunications Act (Telecommunicatiewet).

1.1.  Controller

The controller of the processing of personal data is:

FRISS Fraudebestrijding B.V.
Orteliuslaan 15
3528 BA
Utrecht

This processing of personal data is registered with the Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) in The Hague under reporting number m00004997.

1.2.  Purposes of data processing

There are several places on our website where you can fill in your (personal) data. We will explain the purposes of the various instances of data processing below.

Filling in the contact form or sending an e-mail

If you fill in the contact form on our website or send us an e-mail, we will only use the (personal) data you provide for the purpose or purposes for which you filled in the contact form or sent the e-mail.

Download form

If you download files on our website (such as e-books, whitepapers or reports), we will use the (personal) data you provide for one or more of the following purposes:

  • for the execution of an agreement, for example to send you the e-book, whitepaper or report you have chosen;
  • for the formation of an agreement, for example by contacting you by telephone or in writing.

Newsletter

If you fill in the application form for the newsletter on our website, your (personal) data will be used to send you the newsletter. Each newsletter contains a hyperlink at the bottom of the message that you can use to unsubscribe.

In addition to the personal data you provide to FRISS yourself, FRISS may collect, record and process additional (personal) data if you use the (web) services of FRISS. This concerns the following personal data:

  • data from the used equipment, such as a unique device ID, version of the operating system and settings of the device you use to access a service;
  • information about the use of a service, such as the time at which you use the service and the type of service that is used;
  • location details from your device or derived from your IP address that is provided to us when you use a particular service;
  • data available from external sources. We may receive information about you from public or commercially available sources.

1.3.  Provision of (personal) data to third parties

Your (personal) data will never be provided to third parties without your permission, unless we have an obligation to do so pursuant to legislation or regulations or you have given permission for this.

1.4.  Security of data

FRISS respects your privacy and ensures that personal data are handled confidentially and with the utmost care. All processed (personal) data is stored exclusively in secure databases. These databases are only accessible to employees of FRISS, to the extent that this access is required by virtue of their position. FRISS makes every effort to secure these systems against loss and/or any form of unlawful use or processing.

1.5.  Inspection, correction and deletion of data and the right to object

You can view your data that is processed by FRISS at any time and free of charge and, if you so wish, modify this data or have it deleted. You can also object to receiving information about products, services or content of FRISS. If you wish to make use of one of these options, you can send an e-mail to the Data Protection Officer of FRISS via privacy@friss.eu or write to the following address:

FRISS | fraud, risk & compliance
Attn. Data Protection Officer
Orteliuslaan 15
3528 BA Utrecht.

2. Cookies

When using this website, information about your use of these services and other websites may be collected by or on behalf of FRISS, for example by means of cookies.

A cookie is a small file that is sent along with pages of a website and stored by your browser on the hard disk of your computer. We use cookies to remember settings and preferences. You can disable these cookies via your browser.

2.1.  The purposes for which FRISS uses cookies

On our website we use cookies for the following purposes:

  • for statistical purposes, in order to analyse the use of FRISS websites. This allows us to keep track of the number of visitors and see which parts of our website are popular. We use Google Analytics in order to track and consult these statistics. On this website you can find explanations about all cookies that may be placed by Google;
  • for what is known as ‘targeting’ purposes, if you have used the download form. By targeting we mean building a profile of you based on your surfing behaviour on our website, after which we may contact you by telephone or e-mail based on the interests you have shown in order to offer you FRISS services that you may be interested in. We use HubSpot in order to track and consult these statistics. On this website you can find explanations about all cookies that may be placed by HubSpot;

3. Changes to this Cookie and Privacy Statement

FRISS may make changes to this Cookie and Privacy Statement. All modifications will be published on this page. We advise you to consult this Cookie and Privacy Statement regularly, so that you are always aware of the content of the current Cookie and Privacy Statement.

 

Subscribe