Financial Crime in the Twenty-First Century: The Rise of the Virtual Collar Criminal

  • Alan S Reid
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


This chapter introduces the phenomenon of virtual collar crime, that is, quintessentially white collar crimes that are perpetrated entirely in cyberspace. Trust, trust dependency, high skill base criminals and opportunity zones were, and are, the hallmarks of white collar crime. The emerging paradigm of virtual collar crimes negates the requirement that perpetrators be highly skilled. Computer sagacity is no longer the sine quanon for cybercriminals—the phenomenon of ‘Crime as a Service’ has outsourced the skill requirement to third party providers of the required technological knowhow. Alongside the cascading down of such technical knowledge, twenty-first-century society has driven headlong down the information superhighway, with hardly any area of human activity left unexposed to the effects of the ether. This perfect storm of increased virtuality and democratisation of online crime poses immense challenges to the entire twenty-first-century society substratum, risking the future ability and desire of humans to interact with each other, have mutual trust and respect for one another and to have faith in established governmental institutions, commercial corporations and law enforcement. Legal systems must ensure that lives lived virtually are only exposed to an acceptable level of risk.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan S Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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