Financial crime affects thousands of people in Britain every year, yet very little is known about the experiences, behaviours and decision-making of victims of these crimes. This qualitative study involved in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 31 victims of investment fraud, including boiler room share fraud, land banking, and frauds involving the sale of carbon credits, diamonds, wine, rare metals, gold and foreign exchange. Interviewees also included those who had been victims of recovery room fraud.
People affected by investment fraud are not simply passive victims. Their accounts highlight their agency, and their attempts to prevent their own victimisation. Fraudsters do not simply mislead victims, they actively groom them into a relationship where they become emotionally attached to the fraud(ster). The interplay between the context of victims’ lives and the grooming mechanisms used by fraudsters creates a space in which victims’ actions can be understood as rational.