What works in fraud prevention: a review of real-world intervention projects

Tim Prenzler (School of Law and Criminology, The University of the Sunshine Coast, The Sunshine Coast, Australia)

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice

ISSN: 2056-3841

Publication date: 22 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to report on a search of criminology and related databases to identify fraud prevention intervention projects that showed promising achievements in reducing offences.


A keyword search of Criminal Justice Abstracts was supplemented by searches of related databases and case study repositories – conducted up to 31 May 2019. The paper includes some attention to indicators of “what doesn’t work” as well as “what might work” or “what should work”. Selection criteria were open about evidence, rather than exclusively applying strict scientific standards.


Overall, the literature is marked by inferences regarding what should work, based on diagnostics about opportunity factors in fraud and victim characteristics. In terms of evaluated intervention projects, only two were identified that met best practice scientific standards. However, a further 17 projects were included where there was some evidence of a likely benefit.

Research limitations/implications

Available evaluations of intervention projects are predominantly within-in group studies. Pre- and post-intervention time frames are often short, limited to one year or less; with only one follow-up study.

Practical implications

The findings demonstrate the need for applied experiments to build knowledge about effective fraud reduction strategies. The main lesson from the content of the 19 projects concerns the value of a situational crime prevention framework for designing and testing interventions, especially through enhancing rule setting, reducing anonymity, extending guardianship and formal surveillance, and facilitating compliance.


This appears to be the first systematic literature review of applied counter-fraud intervention projects.



Prenzler, T. (2019), "What works in fraud prevention: a review of real-world intervention projects", Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 83-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRPP-04-2019-0026



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